Neeraj Chopra Photograph:( Reuters )
Neeraj became only the second individual Olympic gold medalist for India after Abhinav Bindra won shooting gold in 2008. He said it still "feels like dream".
Neeraj Chopra, India's javelin star has brought glory to the nation by winning a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. While the entire nation is pumped up and congratulating the "Golden Boy" after his historic triumph, he spoke exclusively to WION's Digvijay Singh Deo about his journey and dreams. He said it is a "happy moment" for him as he led India to its best-ever haul in the Olympics with seven medals — a gold, two silvers and four bronze medals.
There have been critical voices raised in the past that India can't win a gold medal in athletics at Olympics Games. While showing his glitzy medal during the virtual chat, the 23-year-old - very politely - slammed those criticisms and said. "Now, we don't have to say anything as we have gold now. No one can now say India cant win gold. We can and more athletes will also do."
Neeraj became only the second individual Olympic gold medalist for India after Abhinav Bindra won shooting gold in 2008. His performance at Tokyo Olympics will be written in golden words in history. With a mammoth 87.58 metres throw, he finished ahead of gold-medal favourite and 2017 world champion Johannes Vetter of Germany.
Neeraj Chopra was a plump kid, who took to athletics to lose weight but ended up being India's first track-and-field Olympic gold-medallist. On his win, he said, "It's hard to believe at the moment, sometimes I feel it it's a dream. But for me, it's a dream come true. Gold in the Olympics is a different feeling and I also feel great to have done this for our country."
He also reflected his thoughts on some Indian legends of athletics like Milkha Singh, PT Usha, Anju Bobby George. Neeraj said, "I want to dedicate my medal to great Indian athletes like Milkha Singh and PT Usha"
"Definitely that's [gold medal moment] an inspiration for India as the seniors worked hard for this and their dreams came true with a gold medal," he added.
On being asked, what are his plans now, he said, "Just want to rest for a while and be with family."
Watch his exclusive interview here:
President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi was joined by and several other ministers in paying tribute to Chopra's success. "History has been scripted at Tokyo! What @Neeraj_chopra1 has achieved today will be remembered forever," Modi tweeted.
"The young Neeraj has done exceptionally well. He played with remarkable passion and showed unparalleled grit. Congratulations to him for winning the Gold."
The sports fraternity also lavished praise on Chopra who was described by local media as the "man with the golden arm".
"The impact your victory will create on promoting your sport amongst the country's youth is immeasurable," Bindra said in a statement.
"Also, welcome you to the club. It is not the most happening of places yet and needs more members, but I feel your entry is going to pave the way for many more deserving athletes."