India’s golden boy, Neeraj Chopra, who shook the entire nation by winning the gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics turns 24 on Christmas eve. Neeraj became only the second Indian after shooter Abhinav Bindra to win a gold medal in an individual event at the Olympics, and it must also be noted that Chopra was making his debut in the Olympics, and won the gold in Javelin with an astonishing throw of 87.58m.
On Neeraj Chopra’s 24th birthday, here are some of his major international victories before he shot to fame at the Olympics:
Neeraj’s first International medal-
Beginning with his first major win, the youngster got his first bite at the cherry back in 2014 when he won a silver at the Youth Olympics Qualification event in Bangkok. He participated in an international event for the first time a year prior, at the World Youth Championship held in Ukraine in 2013.
When Neeraj won the gold at South Asian Games, 2016 but marginally missed out on Olympic qualification –
That’s right, Neeraj Chopra was already eyeing the Olympics back in 2016, when he took part in the South Asian Games and struck gold with an astonishing throw of 82.23 metres, his personal best at the time, although he would fall just short of the 83-meter mark, needed to qualify for the Olympics.
IAAF World U20 Championships, 2016, when Neeraj Chopra broke the junior world record –
The 24-year-old broke a junior world record at the IAAF World U20 Championships in 2016, with his record throw of 86.48 metres, winning him the gold again, and making him the first Indian athlete to set up a junior world record, albeit he again failed to qualify for the 2016 Olympics, as the U20 Championships were held a week after the cut-off date for Olympics qualification.
Neeraj’s first shot to fame – Commonwealth Games 2018
In the Commonwealth Games in 2018, Neeraj introduced himself to the world after winning the gold in Gold Coast Australia, with a throw of 86.47m, again becoming the first Indian athlete to win a gold in the Javelin throw at the Commonwealth Games.
Neeraj’s tryst with destiny – Tokyo 2020, a historic Olympic gold
With his throw of 87.58m in the second attempt at Tokyo, Neeraj not only rewrote the history books, but he also fulfilled the dreams of a billion people, becoming a household name overnight.