Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra on Saturday created history with his gold win at the Tokyo Olympics. He threw a massive 87.58m in the men’s javelin throw finals to end India’s 100-year wait for a track and field medal in the Olympics. Chopra’s monumental win can be credited to his years-long hard work and passion for the game.
While most of the efforts that take a person towards an Olympic gold happens in the four years leading up to the tournament, the hard work and dedication invested during the home stretch, few days before the game is equally important.
Here is an account of Neeraj Chopra’s challenges in Tokyo, where he went on to win India’s first Olympics gold in athletics.
By now, almost all of us know Chopra’s love for his shoulder-length locks but his love for the country was way more. Before flying from Sweden to Tokyo to take part in Olympics, Chopra chopped his hair off.
“I liked my hair but they kept falling on my eyes and forehead. It was distracting. I thought my hair will grow back but the Olympics will come only three years later,” Chopra told media after his qualification for the final.
Social media cut-off
During his interaction with media in Tokyo after the win, Chopra said that his phone was usually off and used only to listen to music and watch videos. He did not use social media throughout the tournament to avoid any kind of distractions.
“I wasn’t on social media because I wanted to stay focused on the event and did not want to get distracted by online conversations,” he told journalists at Tokyo.
He further added that it was important to give 100% to the game and since it was only a matter of 10-15 days, it wasn’t a big deal for him.
Early morning dope tests
Neeraj arrived in Tokyo from Sweden, which is seven hours behind and the time lag has made it extremely difficult for Chopra to get up early morning for dope tests.
Chopra told the media that he was dope tested thrice after coming to Tokyo and for the fourth time after winning a medal.
Since Neeraj Chopra went to Tokyo from Sweden directly, the summer heat of Japan started to affect him during the first few days of his arrival. Apart from that his body was also gravely impacted by the time lag.
After waking up early, he used to come to the Olympic stadium nearly two-and-a-half hours ahead of his event for a warm-up session.