‘Hardships are crucial’ – Neeraj Chopra opens up on the importance of struggle en route to success

Neeraj Chopra shares how he bought his javelin from his first earning having toiled for over four years.

Neeraj Chopra
Neeraj Chopra

From being one of India’s brightest hopes at the Tokyo Olympics to winning the nation’s first Olympic medal in track and field events, Neeraj Chopra has come a long way in the last month or so. Neeraj’s surreal feat in Tokyo made him a household name in the country. Ever since his historic feat at the Tokyo Olympics, Neeraj has had a packed schedule of felicitations and functions.

The latest addition to the list is the reality show, Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC). Neeraj Chopra along with fellow Olympic medallist PR Sreejesh is set to appear on the show’s special segment ‘Shandaar Shukravaar’. On the show, Neeraj opened about how and when he bought his first javelin, one that paved the way to him becoming the champion we know today.

I started my journey in javelin throw in 2011. It was in 2014 that I got my first prize money, Rs 2 Lakhs, for winning the gold medal on the national level and set the junior national record. I always wanted to do something with my own earnings. My family supported me a lot but there was an ambition to buy something my earnings,” he shares.

My first javelin cost me around 7 or 8 thousand rupees. Back then we couldn’t get our hands on the world-class javelins. We trained with low-quality javelins.

“Without hardships, we wouldn’t have the zeal to achieve something,” Neeraj Chopra

Neeraj Chopra with his parents
Neeraj Chopra with his parents

Chopra not only became the first Indian to win a track and field medal at the Tokyo Olympics but also became only the second individual gold medallist from India. Neeraj’s massive second throw of 87.58m saw him clinch the gold medal creating history. The Olympic champion feels the hardships he faced early on forged the champion he is today.

Hard work, I feel, is very important. If my family would have had catered to all my needs. Had they said that we will drop you at the stadium, you practice for a bit and return home, eat some delicious dishes and rest. If I would have got all the facilities with such ease, I wouldn’t have worked hard.

So, I feel the hardships I faced during my journey were crucial. If someone gets everything, all their needs are fulfilled easily, then we wouldn’t have the zeal to achieve something,” he adds.

Having conquered the Olympics, Neeraj Chopra has no intention to slack off. The 23-year-old has set his eyes on the upcoming competitions. Neeraj shares that having celebrated his victory at the Tokyo Games, he is back to his daily grind. And is looking to gain some momentum ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics.

I have won a Gold medal in the Olympics. Next Year, I will be performing in the World Championship, Commonwealth games, Diamond league. After three years, again there will be Olympic games. These events will continue year after year. I look forward to performing in these events.”

Also Read | Tokyo Olympics: Which country won the most medals in athletics?

Anshuman Mahapatra is currently pursuing an engineering degree. Writing and sports are his fortes. He covers cricket as well as badminton, boxing and other Olympic sports. Anshuman is addicted to reading novels and cricket. He is a huge Chennai Super Kings fan.