Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra on Saturday scripted a new era in the history of sports in India by winning a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. While a proud nation extended heartfelt congratulations to the athlete, the historic win also brought into focus a special connection the golden boy has with Odisha.
According to sources, the foundation stone for Neeraj’s Olympic journey was laid in Odisha. The 23-year-old farmer’s son from Khandra village near Panipat in Haryana had clinched gold medal in a championship at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar and also underwent Olympic training here for some time.
Neeraj along with the javelin team had undergone training at the Kalinga Stadium for two months, informed the Sports Secretary of Odisha, R Vineel Krishna.
“Golden Throw! Congratulations Neeraj Chopra ! Indian Javelin Team briefly camped at Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar, Odisha for Olympic training,” Vineel Krishna wrote on his Twitter handle.
Prior to his training session at Kalinga Stadium, Neeraj had taken part in the Asian Athletics Championship 2017 in Bhubaneswar and won gold medal.
“Golden boy at the Asian Athletics Championship 2017 Bhubaneswar Odisha,” the Sports Secretary said in another tweet.
The IAS officer has also re-tweeted a tweet of Neeraj that dates back to his training period at the Kalinga Stadium.
Sharing a video of his intense training session, the athlete had written, “Had a great time training at the Kalinga Stadium here in Bhubaneswar. Now looking forward to getting some competition experience under the belt.”
Had a great time training at the Kalinga Stadium here in Bhubaneswar. Now looking forward to getting some competition experience under the belt. #tokyoolympics #Roadtotokyo @jswsports pic.twitter.com/1aG6qJHH5B— Neeraj Chopra (@Neeraj_chopra1) February 13, 2021
Neeraj had a special interview with OTV during his training session at the Kalinga Stadium. “Whenever I come to Bhubaneswar, the first think comes to my mind is the Asian Athletics Championship. It was a great experience. The competition was very good and there was huge crowd of audience at the stadium. I got to see real sports lovers in large number here,” the athlete had said.
Meanwhile, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik congratulated Neeraj Chopra and said his win would inspire generations.
“A golden throw! Congratulations #NeerajChopra on historic first-ever track & field #Gold medal for India in #Javelin throw at #Tokyo2020. The country is so proud of you. With this, you took India to its highest ever medal tally at the #Olympics. You will inspire generations,” the CM tweeted.