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IndiaNeeraj Chopra Sets His Eyes On Paris Gold

Neeraj Chopra Sets His Eyes On Paris Gold

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In 2022, he raced past Usain Bolt, ‘the 's fastest man', to become the world's most written-about athlete. The attention has followed a stream of medals: Asian Games gold twice, an Olympic gold, and silver and gold at the World Athletics Championships.

“When I'm on a flight, I always look out of the window as we take off and count the facilities in the city,” Neeraj Chopra says. “In Europe or America, I can count many before we hit the clouds. Then I think about the kids who have access to them. That's a key thing to remember.”

Chopra began training in javelin at 13 at the Shivaji stadium in Panipat, Haryana, primarily to shed extra weight. Though the stadium was a few kilometres away, it had the necessary facilities and coaches who could spot talent and hone it.

He had gravitated towards the javelin out of intrigue, but it soon became a passion. The journey to this interview has been long. We are to meet for coffee, but Chopra has no need for caffeine even though he has switched multiple time zones and traversed continents to finally land in Delhi.

I am not in the city for the one time it might have been worth it, but coffee in hand I am eagerly waiting for him to join our virtual meeting.

For months, I have chased him. For months, he has been out of the country, either competing or training. And just when he is in , I am in Amsterdam.

He's here for a promotional event for Optimum Nutrition and is a big name for the company to sign on.

The Olympian, who is careful about the brands he endorses, says the goals of this one align with his.

Over the past four years, Chopra has transitioned from a potential Olympic medallist to a once-in-a-generation athlete.

It could be argued that the ‘golden boy' is single-handedly responsible for boosting viewership for athletic competitions in India.

In 2022, he raced past Usain Bolt, ‘the world's fastest man', to become the world's most written-about athlete.

The attention has followed a stream of medals: Asian Games gold twice, an Olympic gold, and silver and gold at the World Athletics Championships. His dazzling performance has also brought other Indian athletes under the spotlight.

The first time the world noticed Chopra was when he won gold at the World Athletics U20 Championships in 2016 in Poland, with a world record of 86.48m — one that stands in that age group to date. It was immediately apparent that this was a generational talent, someone who could do magical things.

In the years since, Chopra has only worked harder to justify the hype. He spends most of his year away from home, either training in Europe or competing through the summer.

The training is driven not just by the competition but also by a desire to continuously improve.

My interview notes, initially centred around questions about Tokyo 2020, are scratched out and updated with questions about the Oregon World Championships 2022 and then scratched out again for questions about the 2023 summer, where he won gold in Budapest, the Doha Diamond League and the Asian Games in Hangzhou.

Fearing that every week might seem outdated when dealing with an elite athlete like him, I have chosen to go in a different direction with this interview, talking not about the javelin throw but how this sport has shaped a country's athletic .

 

 

Northlines
Northlines
The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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