Neeraj fulfills Milkha Singh’s dream

The name has been etched permanently on the hearts and minds of billions of Indians. The 23 year old boy from Khandra Village, Panipat, Haryana has created one of the proudest moments in India’s long sporting history. On 7-8-2021, the boy with long hair won India’ s first ever gold in Athletics at the Olympics with a 87.58 m throw of his javelin.

It’s important to understand the context to truly realise and appreciate how big a achievement this really is for a country obsessed with cricket. Post independence, India has participated in every Summer Olympics, 19 in total, and had never won a gold in Track and Field before.

India has won 10 Olympic gold medals in total, out of which 8 are in hockey and 1 in shooting, won by Abhinav Bindra in 2008. Overall this is India’s second gold at the Olympics in any individual event and first ever in any track and field event. India had come tantalizingly close twice before towards winning the gold in Athletics. First was the Flying Sikh, Milkha Singh, who lost bronze medal in 400m final at the 1960 Olympics by a whisker. Then India ‘s “Udan Pari” PT Usha lost the chance of winning a medal by 1/100th of a second at the 1984 Olympics, breaking millions of Indian hearts in the process.

But there was no heartbreak and despair this time, only joy and elation. From the word go till the finish, Neeraj Chopra completely dominated the competition. It was surreal to see an Indian Athlete’s dominant performance at world’s biggest sporting event. It was also surreal to witness the whole country ‘s attention fixated to javelin throw event, a sport most had never even heard before, even though india-england cricket test series was in progess.

These surreal moments have been very few and far between for Indian sports. A start has been made. Lets make sure the journey remains onwards and upwards towards sporting glory.

Article by Priyanshu Ranjan 

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