Neeraj Chopra Biography

(Javelin Thrower)
Neeraj Chopra
1

Birthday: December 24, 1997 (Capricorn)

Born In: Panipat district, Haryana, India

Neeraj Chopra is an Indian javelin thrower who won a gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with a throw of 87.58m. With this, he became the first track and field athlete and second individual sportsperson to win an Olympic gold for India. Furthermore, he became the only Indian to win gold on his Olympic debut and the youngest individual Indian gold medalist as well. A farmer’s son who had turned to sports to shed weight, he was always eager to take notes from senior athletes and began to show promise from his youth career. He became the first Indian athlete to win the U-20 World Championships in track and field. He also won gold at the South Asian Games, the Asian Athletics Championships, the Commonwealth Games, and the Asian Games.

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Quick Facts

Age: 24 Years, 24 Year Old Males

Family:

father: Satish Kumar

mother: Saroj Devi

Born Country: India

Athletes Javelin Throwers

Height: 5'10" (178 cm), 5'10" Males

More Facts

education: Dayanand Anglo-Vedic College

awards: Arjuna Award for Athletics

Childhood & Early Life

Neeraj Chopra was born on December 24, 1997 in Khandra village, Panipat district, Haryana, India to farmer Satish Kumar and housewife Saroj Devi. He is the eldest child in a joint family of 17 and has two sisters.

Weighing 90 kg at 12, he was often teased by other kids, which prompted his father to enroll him in a basic gymnasium at Madlauda, from where he eventually shifted to a gym at Panipat. One day, at the nearby Panipat Sports Authority of India center, he impressed javelin thrower Jaiveer Singh with his first throw of 40 meters, following which the latter started training him.

About a year later, he began training javelin throw and long-distance running under coach Naseem Ahmad at the Tau Devi Lal Sports Complex in Panchkula. With a national record throw of 68.40 meters, he was able to clinch the 2012 junior nationals in Lucknow.

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Athletic Career

Neeraj Chopra’s first international competition was the World Youth Championships in Ukraine in 2013, but he won his first international medal, a silver, at the Youth Olympics Qualification in Bangkok the next year. He surpassed 70 meters at the 2014 senior nationals and 80 meters at the 2015 All India Inter-University Athletics Meet, following which he earned a call to the national camp.

He touched the Indian national record of 84.23m at the 2016 South Asian Games, securing a gold medal, and subsequently won silver at the 2016 Asian Junior Athletics Championships. In July that year, he set a world junior record and earned another gold medal in the 2016 IAAF World U20 Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, but missed the 2016 Summer Olympics cut-off date narrowly.

His next gold medal came from a throw of 85.23m at the 2017 Asian Athletics Championships, followed by another from his season-best effort of 86.47m on his debut at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. In May that year, he set a new national record at the Doha Diamond League with an 87.43m throw.

Neeraj Chopra, who made his first appearance at the Asian Games in August 2018, served as the flag-bearer for the Indian contingent and secured a gold medal with an impressive 88.06m throw. With this, he earned the first gold for India in javelin throw at the Asian Games and also surpassed his previous national record.

An elbow injury in his throwing arm forced him to undergo surgery in Mumbai on May 2, 2019, the day after the qualifying competitions for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics begun. Five months later, instead of resuming training with “eternal world record” holder Uwe Hohn, he went to Potchefstroom in South Africa to train with bio-mechanics expert Klaus Bartonietz.

Returning to international competition, he qualified for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics with a throw of 87.86 meters in the ACNW League Meeting in Potchefstroom in January 2020. A year later in March 2021, he improved his previous national record with an 88.07m throw, followed by a gold medal win at his first international game that season in Lisbon, Portugal.

On his debut representing India at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Neeraj Chopra registered a throw of 86.65m on August 4, 2021 to qualify for the men's javelin throw final. On August 7, 2021, he secured the gold medal with an 87.58m throw, becoming the first Indian Olympic gold medalist in athletics and the second individual gold medalist from India.

Military Career

In 2016, Neeraj Chopra was selected as a Junior Commissioned Officer in the Indian Army on the Naib Subedar rank.

Awards & Achievements

In 2018, Neeraj Chopra’s name was recommended by the Athletics Federation of India for the Khel Ratna, the country's highest sports award, but he ultimately received the Arjuna Award. He later received Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM), a decoration of the Indian armed forces, as part of the 2020 Republic Day honors.

Trivia

As a child, Neeraj Chopra was notorious for his mischievous nature and once set part of his house on fire while trying to shoo away bees from a nearby tree.

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- Neeraj Chopra Biography
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