Though the man is no more and never saw the heroics of the great man at the javelin throw yet he must be smiling from the heavens and saying, ’I knew you would do it and make us Indians proud ’! That is what Neeraj did!
-‘Many people knew from the very beginning that he would do it. He had been bruised and battered psychologically when he was a child as he was loaded with fat which many of us were. But mother’s love children and he was one kid his mother adored and thereafter she began setting up a massive game of destiny for her child. Mother’s know their child the best. His mother Saroj Devi and father Satish Kumar knew that he was born to make it big but they never knew. Sitting and watching the strong train in Panchkula Chandigarh the kid grew up. He would become Neeraj Chopra the first Indian to take a gold in Athletics none took that seriously and one day the world would take him so seriously very few knew and the first one was a man who was the center commandant of Rajputana Rifles Late Brigadier Dinesh Alagh. The man loved his find and did all he could do for him but could not see him rising to the pinnacle of glory in Olympics the Gold medal pedestal’!
-‘The Rajputana Rifles Regimental Museum is located inside the Delhi Cantonment. The museum covers the rich history of the regiment in the most modern fashion. The museum is around 7000 square feet in size and covers the history of the regiment from its inception. The museum exhibits weapons and uniforms and narrates the history through large format images and audiovisual film. The museum was designed and conceived by Holistic Design, a Delhi-based design studio headed by Nikhil Bhardwaj who specializes in designing museums and exhibitions. Col. M. S. Niranjan of the 19th battalion was the director of the museum project. It is rated as the finest military museum in India and even compared to the Imperial War Museum in London. Many legends have found its way into this out of the world and state of art craftsmanship in architecture. Add one more stupendous talent who stunned the world with his fabulously toned up arms’!
-‘A medal at the Tokyo Olympics is not beyond him, said his coach Uwe Hohn. He is already one of the best in the world. That was three years ago. On Saturday at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium, Hohn’s words came true. Neeraj had indeed made history. He did what no Indian track-and-field athlete had ever done: win a medal at the Olympics and a gold at that! Hohn himself had done with a javelin no one else ever has. He is the only one to throw 100m or more, his feat coming on Olympic Day of the athletics meet in Berlin on July 20, 1984. His effort: 104.80m. That was what he wanted to do since the age of 14, Hohn had said in an interview. Unfortunately for him, he could not compete at the Olympics that year at Los Angeles as East Germany had boycotted the Games. I had to miss the Olympics for no fault of mine, Hohn had said. I could have won the gold. That thought might still rankle him, but Neeraj’s gold in Tokyo could make him feel better’. That is what the legendary German said!
-‘Yet another German again Neeraj Chopra’s coach Dr Klaus Bartonietz was all praise for the 23-year-old, who scripted history on Saturday by becoming the first Indian track and field athlete to win an Olympic gold medal. Klaus said he felt overwhelming joy on his ward Neeraj Chopra achieving the feat at the Tokyo Games. Klaus said he is proud of what Chopra has achieved at the Olympics, and pointed out how this will bring joy to the people of India who are interested in athletics. Exact words ‘What to say? I feel overwhelming joy, joy for Neeraj that he could get a medal, not just bronze, not silver, but gold. He became the best javelin thrower in the world. It’s a great joy for the Athletics Federation of India and for all the people who are interested in athletics in India, Klaus was heard saying in a video shared by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) after Chopra’s gold-winning performance at the 2020 Tokyo Games.’
‘This was the foursome that created history and the rest had to be displayed on the field and it was by Neeraj but the journey was not easy but all the obstacles and the unwanted chicanery was removed by some spectacular assists from the Indian Army and National Institute of Sports Patiala. The effort was a combined one and the spear needed raw power converted into expertise power to make it to almost nineties (meters of course) . It was and the equation was formulated and that was all written in Gold (I mean the medal)!’
The will to win is in everyone but there have to be many people behind an individual who packs in the best possible showcase and showtime events of one’s capability. The field could be any be it intellectual, sports or a situation where taking a direct confrontation is the only option left. But all the feats achieved carry a lot of emotions behind them beginning with passion. Both the things cannot be described but the best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. Neeraj’s passion and enthusiasm filled the throw meant a lot. He knew he had done it and the men behind knew that he had already done it! That’s the difference. In this context I would love to put up a few contents full of emotions from an officers mess in 4th Raj Rif, the unit to which parentally in profession the great young man belongs to. The contents are original.
‘Good evening, friends!.. ..I feel elated to share with you all his proud moments of the stupendous achievement by Neeraj, my Regimental boy!.. He was picked up by our regiment, Rajputana Rifles (Raj Rif) in 2016 as a directly non commissioned officer Havildar in sports quota. Col. Dinesh Alagh was his mentor initially at our Raj Rif Regt Centre, Delhi but soon he realized his potential and recommended his further training at Germany. For the past 5 years he had been training in the Rhine country where sports brilliance is well known!. He has not been to his unit 4 Raj Rif ever since he got into the Olive Greens, which is there now in Udaipur, but purely due to his dedication, focused approach and hard work, he has performed consistently well over the past 5 years and reached this stage today!…Incidentally, he also holds the World Record with a throw of 88.67 m.. Congratulations to us all Indians, the Indian Army and Rajputana Rifles! History is created by the Indian Army yet again ! Unfortunate that his mentor, Col Dinesh passed away a few weeks back and could not see the end result!. Veer Bhogya Vasundhara!’ This is an emotion of multiple sorts but carries a lot of meaning, perhaps biggest one to the heart that beats inside us!’ The sports culture in Rajputana rifles is tremendous and the legacy is huge and times unbelievable as far as the sports activities go:
The Rajputana Rifles, one of the army’s oldest rifle regiments, was hosting an event to felicitate one of its own Naib Subedar Chopra, who at the IAAF (International Associations of Athletics Federations) Under-20 championship in Poland, had thrown a record 86.48 metres and set a world record in the event. From there, Chopra continued to blaze a golden trail, winning the 2018 Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games. He is the second Indian to win an Olympic gold, and the first to do so in an athletic event. There is one more who won a silver and he too was Indian Army.
The Army has had a tradition of nurturing sports stars, from hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand to Subedar Milkha Singh. In 2001, it launched Mission Olympics, a focused bid for medals. While it has spotted and recruited talent from within including Colonel Rajyavardhan Rathore, silver medalist in the men’s Double Trap Shooting at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, and Havildar Vijay Kumar, silver medalist in the 25m rapid fire pistol shooting at the London Olympics in 2012 it has also taken talent onboard.
In 2015, a team from the Rajputana Rifles believed they were looking at an Olympic hopeful at the Tau Devi Lal sports complex in Panchkula, Haryana. Chopra, then just 17, was already hurling the javelin over 70 metres. The Regiment’s athletics coach and sports officer recommended his induction into the army.
Soon after Chopra’s record-breaking throw in Bydgoszcz, Poland, the Regimental Centre commandant travelled to spend a day with his parents in Khandra village in Panipat to assure them of the army’s support to his career. Chopra’s parents told the Brigadier the incredible story of how their overweight child, fed up with taunts from villagers, had taken to javelin throwing to reach his fitness goals.
He was then eventually coached by the legendary German javelin thrower Uwe Hohn.
The rest is history and we have all seen it happening right before our eyes!
I still feel that the real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That’s real glory. That’s the essence of it. Neeraj started as a puppy fat ridden boy but see what he has done and that too with all the dignity just to attain what he thought was achievable! This is his time to enjoy the glory and for we Indians an achievement to cherish about! Hopefully more would do that!