Neeraj Chopra VSM (born 24 December 1997) is an Indian javelin thrower. He is the first track and field athlete to win an Olympic Gold medal for India. He is the reigning Olympic champion with 87.58m winning throw on 7th August, 2021. Chopra hurled the javelin at 88.07m to break his own national record. His previous best was the 88.06m gold-medal winning throw at the 2018 Asian Games and 2018 Commonwealth Games. Chopra was also selected as the flag-bearer at the opening ceremony for India at the 2018 Asian Games, which marked his first Asian Games appearance. In his earlier career, he was the 2016 World U20 champion and set the world under-20 record of 86.48 m. He is the first Indian athlete to ever win a World title in Track and Field at U-20.
He won his first medal in Olympics in Sport Athletes, event – Men’s Javelin throw. His throw of 87.86m at his first competition after an elbow injury guaranteed a ticket to Tokyo. He then qualified in the qualification round with a throw of 86.65m and marched to the finals. He brought home the first Gold Medal in the 2020 Summer Olympics at Tokyo. Neeraj threw his first javelin round on a distance of 87.03 meter and again threw the best of finals that’s was 87.6 metres. He is the second person after Abhinav Bindra to win a gold medal in any individual games at the Olympics for India.
Neeraj Chopra is from Khandra village, Panipat district, Haryana. He was educated at DAV College, Chandigarh. In 2016, he was appointed a Junior Commissioned Officer in the Indian Army with the rank of Naib Subedar. On 31 March 2020, he donated Rs. 2 Lakh in PM Cares Fund for COVID-19 pandemic.
Neeraj won a gold medal in 2020 Summer Olympics on 7th August 2021 with the 87.58 m throw, which is the first Olympic medal in athletics won by an Indian. Neeraj Chopra is only the second Indian to win an individual Olympic gold medal. On 11 August 2008, Abhinav Bindra won the gold medal in the men’s 10 m air rifle in 2008 Summer Olympics.
Neeraj won a gold medal at the 2016 South Asian Games with a throw of 82.23 m, where he equalled the Indian national record.
He won a gold medal in 2016 IAAF World U20 Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland. He also set a world junior record. Despite these performances, he failed to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics as the cut off date was 11 July. Neeraj won another gold medal in Asian Athletic championships 2017 with a throw of 85.23 meters.
Neeraj Chopra registered a season best effort of 86.47 meters in men’s javelin throw at 2018 Commonwealth Games (CWG). With that, Chopra not only joined an elite list of Indian athletes to win a gold medal on their Commonwealth Games debut, but also became the first Indian to triumph in Javelin Throw at CWG.
In May 2018, he again broke the national record at the Doha Diamond League with a throw of 87.43 meters.
The 22-year-old Chopra is the only track and field athlete to be recommended by the AFI for the country’s highest sports award in the year 2018. Neeraj Chopra has already been conferred with the Arjuna Award in 2018 after winning a gold in the Gold Coast Commonwealth.
He is currently being coached by German bio-mechanics expert Klaus Bartonietz. Previously, he has been coached by Gary Calvert, Werner Daniels and Uwe Hohn.
On 27 August 2018, Neeraj threw a distance of 88.06 m to win gold in the Men’s javelin throw at the 2018 Asian Games and set a new Indian national record, bettering his own previous record. He won the gold medal in Tokyo 2021 Olympics. On 5 March 2021, Neeraj Chopra again broke his past National Record setting the new at 88.07m, with a World Leading position in 2021.
Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra opened his international season of 2021 with a throw of 83.18 metres that earned him javelin gold medal at an event in Lisbon, Portugal.