By: Lalit Garg
Among the happy news and records that the country is getting continuously, Neeraj Chopra set another record. For the first time in four decades, an Indian winning a rare gold medal for the country at the World Athletics Championships is nothing short of creating a new history. Neeraj Chopra’s gold medal win in Javelin Throw competition will be considered like raindrops in a drought. A ray of this light has given the countrymen the light of happiness, has given a message that if a single person of the country is determined to move forward with determination, he can reach the summit; can make the world a dwarf, can lift the heads of the inhabitants of the whole country. When the news of this historic and memorable achievement was published in the newspapers, everyone felt joyous.
Neeraj’s journey as a sportsperson has been through many struggles, storms and challenges. Few years ago he was a young man troubled by increasing weight. At the age of 13, his weight had increased to 80 kg, due to which other children of his age used to tease him. Starting from there, Neeraj not only trained his body, but disciplined his mind and focused in such a way that he kept moving forward, creating records. But his feet are on the ground and when he throws the javelin, he goes far and creates a golden history. That’s why till now no athlete has been able to bring glory to the country, Neeraj has brought it. But it is not just about this one gold. There are many things associated with this achievement of his which make him special. In making him special, where his dedication, hard work, loyalty and sportsmanship remained, he won gold in Asian Games in 2018 and then Commonwealth Games in 2018, Gold in Tokyo Olympics in 2020, Silver in World Championship in 2022, Gold in Diamond League in 2022 itself and his charisma of bringing gold in the World Championship in 2023 says a lot, the biggest thing is that he kept improving his performance during this period.
He has also taken Indian sports to the top of the world. The most important question in this achievement-rich atmosphere is why the most populous country in the world has not been able to achieve the status it deserves in sports? Do we not have the atmosphere of sports here or due to lack of facilities the players are not able to move forward? Or is sports also a victim of politics? These questions arise because India is far behind in the list of countries that have won medals so far in the World Athletics Championships. Kenya, a country with a population of just five crores, has reached the second position with 65 gold medals. At the same time, Cuba, a country with a population of one crore, has put 22 gold medals in its bag in the World Championships. Talking about the Olympic Games, India’s performance there has also been disappointing.
In the 127-year history of the Olympic Games, apart from hockey, we have got only two gold medals so far. Of these, one is in the name of Neeraj Chopra and the other is Abhinav Bindra. It is not that the country has not caught the pace of development after independence. India has touched new heights of progress in every field. Be it science or space, the country has made a distinct identity in the world. At this time we have become the fifth economic superpower of the world. Tricolor has been hoisted on the moon six days ago. Because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India’s talk is given importance in the world. Amidst all these achievements, the question arises that why are we lagging behind in sports? Are sports federations responsible for this? Politicians and bureaucrats who have encroached upon sports associations for years, are they not becoming an obstacle in the journey of development of sports?
At a time when Indian scientists have raised their flag in the field of space exploration by landing Chandrayaan near the south pole of the moon and young talents like Praggnananda in chess are showing new hopes, this achievement of Neeraj Chopra not only boosts the morale of the countrymen but also It not only elevates, but also gives confidence and inspiration to do better in other areas and gives courage to make the nectar of freedom. Neeraj set a record by throwing the javelin at a distance of 88.17 meters and proved that this country can do wonders if Indians themselves look at sports born in the soil of India with respect. If the truth is asked, Neeraj Chopra has become the ‘superhero’ of sports of Indian origin. Before him, this status has been achieved only by wrestling wrestler Ghulam Muhammad Baksh alias ‘Gama’ or by Major Dhyan Chand, a hockey player who participated in the Olympic Games.
The contribution of Neeraj Chopra is big and great because he has given world prestige to rural and indigenous sports. Even though the game of cricket is more popular in India due to economic and dazzling thinking, but where is the real spirit of the game? Compared to him, by dedicating his life to sports like javelin throw, Neeraj worked to give a new direction and a new destination to the new generation of India and gave the message that if Indians want, they can also take the events called rural sports to the world stage.
Players like Neeraj Chopra are not less here. If the players get proper environment, training and facilities, then they can pile up medals, create new records. Records are always meant to be broken and breaking is a sign of progress. Neeraj is at the peak, so the efforts to touch him did not stop. There is limitless expanse to soar. When a player participates in our sports on the basis of his ability, he is neither a Hindu nor a Muslim, but an Indian or an Indian citizen. Our sports and players are also an example to show the strength of India’s unity. So the existence of religion or religion is strictly a personal matter for us. Pakistan’s player Arshad Nadeem was a little behind Neeraj Chopra last time as well and this time also this player was successful in winning the silver medal. Those who take sarcasm on the friendship of Neeraj and Arshad, also try to give communal colour to the sports.
Whenever a Neeraj picks up a spear and covers a great distance, or an Arjuna picks up a bow, takes aim, two hundred and eighty crore hands get stretched, one hundred and forty crores have a determination, a sense of concentration and many Neeraj are born. In our country, every bat lifter thinks himself Gavaskar-Sachin, every ball catcher thinks himself Kapil. Every player holding a hockey stick thinks himself to be Dhyan Chand, every player holding a tennis racket thinks himself to be Ramanathan Krishnan. There are many other names, Milkha Singh, P.T. Usha, Prakash Padukone, Geet Sethi, who have become the measure of the height of sports. Today Neeraj has also become a measure and the one who becomes a measure is the best condition for the upliftment and progress of man. This is exemplary. Whoever establishes value, whoever creates merit, whoever creates, who increases the pride of the country, which is sung in songs, salute him. Salute to Neeraj’s spear! Salute to his resolution!! Congratulations on his faith!!! (The author is a journalist, columnist who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)