Sacrifice is the buzzword for any achiever. The Neeraj Chopra story is a paragon of such virtue.
Every human being is bestowed with varying degrees of skills, talents, and other virtues. It is the intensity with which one believes in one’s capabilities and a determination to achieve that differentiates one person from another. While most of the mortals go for materialistic pleasures, the exceptional ones chose the path of sacrifice and go on to become legendary figures. Herein lie the blessings of Saraswati, the Goddess of ‘vidya’. As per legends, both Laxmi, the Goddess of wealth, and Saraswati can not stay together. That is, those who go after materialism only can neither attain peace of mind nor any spiritual power.
India’s star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra was born in the Khandra village of the Panipat district of Haryana. Born in a family of five solely dependent on agriculture for their livelihood, he knew the value of money from the beginning itself. You will be surprised to know that the sole reason for him to join athletics was his childhood obesity. His father believed that an ideal mind rests in an ideal body and this idea pushed him forward to motivate his son to start practising running at the Shivaji Stadium in Panipat.
One does not have to go deep into myriad religious philosophies and many successful people have defied the conservative religious theories, sticking to their novel ideology of keeping up a trade-off between the spiritual enlightenment and worldly pleasures!
As mentioned before, Neeraj had seen bad times with wealth. In an interview, he mentions the fact that during that time his pocket money was just Rs 30 in which he had to travel back and forth from the stadium to his home, and sometimes he didn’t even have the money to buy a glass of juice. But, who knew that someone who just started to indulge in athletics to stay fit will go on to become one of the greatest athletes ever. It was in the winters of 2010 that Jaiveer Choudhary a senior athlete who represented Haryana at national competitions noticed Neeraj keenly watching him practice. So, he asked him to take a shot and the results were incredible. Neeraj made a throw which was more than what an average first-timer athlete would do. This was the moment when Neeraj realized that he loves the game and Jaiveer noticed the glimpse of a potential star and took the responsibility to train him for another year. After which Neeraj decided to shift away from his home to the city of Panchkula at a very ripe age of 14 to stay dedicated to the sport and practice earnestly. Even though his family struggled to make two ends meet at this point, they did what they could to make their beloved son’s dreams come true. Even the villagers stood in support of him. In Panchkula, it was coach Nadeem Ahmad who took his training to another step, and under his guidance, he went on to qualify and then won the gold medal at the National Athletics Championship of 2012.
When asked about his experience during that time Neeraj says that he always used to sit down with a pen and notebook where he noted down all that his coach and senior athletes had to say. He never wanted to miss a chance to improve his game. From here, nothing could stop him as he went on to win the silver medal at the Youth Nationals in the same year. He won his first international medal (silver) at the Youth Olympics in the year 2014 after which he won the Senior nationals in the same year and the All India Athletics meet during the following year. 2015 was a very joyous year for him as he got the chance to participate in the national-level training camp. When asked about his experience there, he said that he was happy that now he could train with internationally approved quality javelins which lessen the risk of probable injuries for him. This was a new experience for him. Later, he left Panchkula to train at the Netaji Subhas Institute of Sports, Patiala. Even though he stayed away from his family for such a long time from his early days, still he never forgot the hard work put in by his family members. This was the reason he always kept his foot on the ground and practised with his eyes up towards heaven.
Neeraj went on to bag subsequent gold medals at the South Asian Championships and IAAF World U20 Championships both in the year 2016 which made him the first Indian to set a world record and a new national record simultaneously. At a time when the whole nation was impressed by the young boy’s consistent growth and performance, the Indian Army offered him a direct appointment as a junior commissioned officer in the Rajputana Rifles with the rank of Naib Subedar and was later promoted to the rank of Subedar. Here, his economic problems came to standby as now he had a regular source of income and a reputed job. Better preparations led to better results and he again won gold medals at the 2017 Asian Athletics Championship and Commonwealth Games and Doha Diamond League in the year 2018. He also received the Arjuna award in the year owing to his excellence in athletics.
Road to Tokyo Olympics 2020
Neeraj Chopra event in Olympics – the most memorable event for Indian sports to date.
Neeraj Chopra event in Tokyo Olympics. Men’s javelin throw. Saturday, 7 Aug 2021
- N. Chopra (India) 87.58 m
- J. Vadlejch (Czech Republic) 86.67 m
- V. Veselý (Czech Republic) 85.44 m
Chopra got injured and could not participate in the world championships of 2019. The bone spurs in his right elbow made him unable to start any form of practice. But he didn’t lose hope and travelled to South Africa in the latter part of the same year to train under German biomechanics expert Klaus Bartoneitz. Here, he successfully qualified for the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
Later, he travelled to Turkey to go on further with his training but the devastating COVID-19 pandemic hit the world and he wasn’t spared from its effects too. Even being in a difficult situation he donated money to the PM cares fund as he knew the real value of money for the people who didn’t have it. So, when he had some he always chose to share it with others. It was in the early months of 2021 that he was able to travel to Europe to participate and win some international events until the day when he qualified for the group qualifiers for the finals. On the glorious day of August 7, 2021, he became the first Indian Olympian to bag a gold medal at the Olympics post Independence. History was created in Tokyo and the whole world became the spectator of a young chap who stood there making his whole nation proud.
The Neeraj Chopra story teaches us how one can clearly move up the ladder by sticking to one’s goals and family values. Hard work has always been and always will be key to success.
Role of Education
One Lovely Professional University in Jalandhar, Punjab says that Neeraj is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts course there. There are 100s of other aspirants who are undergoing similar BA courses but none can match the achievement of Neeraj Chopra. He does not even need to mention any BA in his CV. The fact of the matter is that today 100s of investors are willing to pay millions to buy the Brand Neeraj. This is precisely what years of sacrifice has done for Neeraj. Initially, Neeraj has to renounce all worldly desires. How Laxmi has now landed at the doorsteps of Neeraj is there for everyone to see. It is up to Neeraj now to maintain a level headed balance and continue his journey with the same devotion.
Also Read: Government Spent Rs 70 million on Neeraj