Tokyo: Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra on Sunday said that he wants to dedicate his medal at the Tokyo Olympics to track and field legends Milkha Singh and PT Usha.
Milkha Singh, who passed away earlier this year, always had this dream of seeing an athlete win gold medal at the Olympics. Earlier, PT Usha came close to winning a medal at the 1984 Olympics, but she missed out by a whisker.
“Milkha Singh had this dream of an Indian athlete winning a medal at athletics in the Olympics, he always wanted to win someone gold, it has now been fulfilled but he is not here with us. He would have felt proud if he was here and if I was able to go to him. I will dedicate this medal to him and PT Usha. PT Usha had missed out on a medal by a whisker, I think her dream has also been fulfilled,” Neeraj told ANI.
Neeraj Chopra on Saturday threw the javelin to a distance of 87.58m to pick the gold at the Olympics. He began his quest for a medal with a massive throw of 87.03 meters and was leading the pack after the end of the first attempt. He bettered it with the second throw of 87.58m.
“I wanted to give my best at the Olympics but I was not relaxed till I was sure about the gold medal. The other participants were very good and they could have done better with any throw. It is important to be mentally prepared, as soon as I saw their last attempt, I knew I’m getting gold and I celebrated,” said Neeraj.
” When I went to the stadium initially, sports was never part of the plan, neither was playing for the country and winning a medal at this level. God has been kind. No one in my family or in my village is into sports. Later, I worked really hard and got great support from everyone. First of all, my uncle took me to the stadium as he always wanted me to become a sportsperson. When I started javelin throw, I never knew I would reach this level but I always wanted to play this sport, I was always determined to do hard work,” he added.
While Neeraj wasn’t able to improve any further, it was enough to get him the coveted medal. He is now the second Indian after Abhinav Bindra to win a gold medal in individual events.
“Abhinav Bindra had won gold earlier at the Olympics, this is India’s first gold at the athletics event, this is a big change for Indian athletics and javelin throw. I hope this will encourage more youngsters to take up this sport,” said Neeraj.
“During the lockdown, our camp was going on and it was helpful for us, if we would have gone home then it would not have been good for us. Our training continued, Olympic athletes marched with their training. Injuries are part and parcel of the game, we cannot change that and time needs to be given for the recovery. I worked hard during the rehab and then I made a successful comeback,” he added.
India has now won seven medals in the multi-sporting event, its best-ever performance. In the ongoing Tokyo 2020, Bajrang Punia (Bronze), Mirabai Chanu (silver), PV Sindhu (bronze), Lovlina Borgohain (bronze), men’s hockey team ( bronze), and Ravi Kumar Dahiya (silver) have also won medals.