Tokyo, Aug 11: Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra’s gold medal-winning performance has been rated as one of the 10 magical moments of the Tokyo Olympic Games by World Athletics (WA), the global governing body for track and field events.
In its page titled, “10 magical moments from the Tokyo Olympic Games”, WA wrote for Chopra, “Deserved recognition: Most keen followers of the sport had heard of Neeraj Chopra before the Olympic Games. But after winning the javelin in Tokyo, and in the process becoming India’s first athletics gold medallist in Olympic history, Chopra’s profile sky-rocketed.
“He had 143,000 followers before the Olympics, but now has a staggering 3.2 million, making him the most followed track and field athlete in the world,” wrote WA.
Soon after winning the gold, Chopra had tweeted, “Still processing this feeling. To all of India and beyond, thank you so much for your support and blessings that have helped me reach this stage. This moment will live with me forever.”
WA said that with three world records, 12 Olympic records and dozens of area and national records, the Tokyo Olympic Games were officially the highest quality major event in athletics history.
“But beyond the record-breaking performances, what made the Games truly memorable were the other moments that happened on and off the field of play — from heart-breaking post-race interviews to mid-race fist-bumps, the 10 days of athletics action were one long emotional rollercoaster.”
Posting a picture of New Zealand shot-put legend Valerie Adams, who won a bronze medal in Tokyo, and celebrated by holding a postcard-size photograph of her two small children, WA wrote, “Shot put legend Valerie Adams values her bronze medal from Tokyo as much as she does any of her 10 global gold medals.
“Since the (2016) Rio Olympics, the New Zealander has given birth to two children and has bounced back from persistent elbow and shoulder injuries,” WA wrote.
Valerie had said after clinching bronze that, “The feeling of winning a bronze medal was just as good as when I won the gold medal. Since the last Games, I’ve had these two humans come out of me.
“They’re in my training diary and I have one on the wall in the (Olympic) Village,” she said, holding up a photo of her daughter, Kimoana, and her son, Kepaleli.
“They go everywhere with me on my journey. They are my family. It just goes to show the strength of a woman. You can be a mom and come back and be a mother as well.”