The Javelin Champion Neeraj Chopra is Making Us Proud! But What About Many More of Chopra’s Emerging on the Sporting Horizon?

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  • India, as a nation has made a definite progression in several critical areas of growth parameters and indices are well documented and deserve no further elaboration. Unquestioningly, the world community duly recognizes the contribution of the Indian nation on this front.  We, as a nation, have shown time and again our resoluteness and ingenuity in breaking the hitherto considered barriers with welcoming regularity.  For instance, look not far than science & technology, human resources, business/entrepreneurship, military, space, education, engineering, and the list is simply endless.  We have successfully carved out a niche for ourselves in these fields.

PC: Emily Henderso

  • However, if at all one area that the nation considers severely underrepresented, it should be none other than international sporting successes. As you are aware, there have been sporadic sporting triumphs on the international platforms for the Indian athletes that are achieved with decades separating each.  Needless to mention, the entire country erupts in celebration whenever our athletes emerge victorious fighting against all odds.  Those achievements are realized despite very little assistance from the authorities concerned speaks volumes about the grit, dedication, determination, perseverance, and focus exhibited by our sportspersons.
  • Of course, the present ruling dispensation at the Centre has laid tremendous emphasis on developing sporting culture and the desired results are making its visibility gradually. However, more needs to be done before the country can be rightfully proclaimed as one of the world’s renowned sporting hubs.  One such success was recently witnessed in the ongoing World Athletics Championship.  Incidentally, India’s wait for its second World Athletics Championship medal turned out to be even longer than for its second Olympic individual gold, and it’s the same sportsperson who has broken both the 19-year and the 13-year droughts.  The golden boy Neeraj Chopra’s Tokyo gold had spread joy across the country last year and made him a household name.

PC: PTI

  • No wonder, this has ensured a mass cheering for the silver he scored in Oregon on Sunday. Sadly, general public interest in athletics remains otherwise poor here.  Yet, five other Indian athletes who made it to the javelin, long jump, triple jump, and 3,000m steeplechase finals in Oregon will not be feted even a fraction as much sinch these events are hardly followed by the fans.  Mind you, it is all these finalists taken together that make this India’s best-ever showing in a more meaningful way.  But more needs to be done though.  It should be absolutely clear that this will be a massively resource-intensive endeavour demanding public funds, private funds, corporate sponsors, coaches, physios, and regular participation in international competitions, not to mention extraordinarily personal tenacity to join the world’s club.
  • After the Tokyo gold, interest in javelin has risen considerably giving further credence to the undeniable part role models essay in piquing wannabe sportsperson’s interest. A handful of champion sportspersons for a country of a billion-plus people is too short for comfort.  Thus, identifying/nurturing sporting talent at a young age, provisioning world-class infrastructure including but not restricted to equipment, training, coaching, physios, nutrition, diet, financial support, encouragement, competition, government patronage, and sponsorship at various levels should be prioritized.  Once, this is in place, it’s a matter of time before we start finding more champions emerging from different sporting disciplines.