Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra gave ‘throwing it all away’ another meaning when he scripted history in Tokyo on Saturday, when his monstrous throw of 87.58m in the finals wrapped up India’s first Olympic gold medal in athletics.
As soon as the final javelin was thrown, emotions were running high from Tokyo to India. The wait to hear the Indian anthem playing at the grandest level had finally come to an end after 13 long years.
Social media flooded with wishes, greetings and compliments from jubilant Indians. Amidst all those messages, there were a few from another golden son of India – Abhinav Bindra.
Bindra had won gold in shooting at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the 10m air rifle event, becoming India’s first individual gold medallist. And during every Summer Games since then, the 38-year-old has been waiting for someone to give him company at the very top.
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Moments within Chopra’s incredible achievement, Bindra tweeted, “And Gold it is for @Neeraj_chopra1. Take a bow, young man ! You have fulfilled a nation’s dream. Thank you!
Also, welcome to the club – a much needed addition! Extremely proud. I am so delighted for you.”
The former Indian shooter didn’t just stop there. Like he did for every other athlete who secured a medal for the country in this year’s Olympics, Bindra posted a letter addressed to the new gold medallist.
“Many congratulations on becoming India’s second Olympic gold medalist. To win a gold at the grandest sporting event in the world, which is held once every four years, is in itself so improbable that less than 3% of 11,707 athletes competing in Tokyo will end up with one. Add it to the weight of expectations from an extremely proud nation starved of Olympic success, and your achievement becomes even more memorable.”
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Furthermore, the Olympian went on to add in the heartfelt note, “Javelin throw might not be the most followed sporting discipline in India but your historic achievement has brought it to the limelight, capturing the imagination of billions watching at home. The impact your victory will create on promoting your sport amongst the country’s youth is immeasurable.”
Finally, Bindra welcomed Chopra to the gold medallists’ club, but warned him that it isn’t the “most happening of places yet and needs more members.”
“I feel your entry is going to pave the way for many more deserving athletes.”
As lights will slowly dim out in Tokyo starting tomorrow, Bindra will have left with his newfound club member and India will leave with incredible memories etched in the entire country’s heart.