August 7 will, henceforth, be celebrated as National Javelin Day by the Athletics Federation of India.
That’s when Neeraj Chopra scripted history by winning the gold medal in men’s Javelin Throw at the Tokyo Olympics.
The 23-year-old became only the second Indian to win an individual Olympic gold with a best effort of 87.58 metres on the event.
“To encourage Javelin Throw pan-India, we will celebrate August 7 as National Javelin Day, and from next year onwards our affiliated units will hold javelin competitions in their respective states,” AFI’s Planning Commission chairman Lalit Bhanot said, during a felicitation function of the athletes, including Chopra.
“After that we will have inter-district competitions and we will provide javelins (because there will be lot many required). We will enlarge the competitions in the coming years to become a national event.”
The AFI started the National Open Javelin Throw Championships in 2018 and its third edition is scheduled in October this year.
“I am feeling good that the AFI is making my achievement to be remembered in the days to come. I will be happy if my achievement becomes a reason to inspire the youngsters of this country to take athletics, especially javelin,” Chopra said.
“If the children are getting javelin and other facilities, I hope they will come and take up the sport and I will be happy to cheer for them and they can be the future medal winners.”
Chopra’s father, Satish, mother Saroj Devi and uncle Bhim were also present at the felicitation.
Asked about stories of Chopra being a naughty boy in his childhood days, Satish replied, “Woh sahi hey, magar Neeraj jo bhi kam karta hey, man laga ke karta hey (That is correct, but when Neeraj does something he does with dedication).
“Humko kya jane woh ek din aisa karega, desh ko roshan karega (How do we know that one day he would light up the country).”
India’s lone World Championships medallist Anju Bobby George described Chopra’s gold-winning feat as the best achievement in Indian athletics.
“It is the proudest moment in the history of Indian athletics, a gold medal in Olympics; nothing is better than this. I hope Neeraj’s gold inspires the children of this country to take up athletics,” said Anju, who won a long jump bronze in the 2003 World Championships.
Anju is currently senior vice-president of AFI.