Neeraj Chopra is among the 12 athletes nominated for the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award for the year 2021. Apart from Chopra, other Olympics champions – Ravi Kumar Dahiya (Wrestling) and Lovlina Borgohain (Boxing) and men’s hockey team goal-keeper PR Sreejesh and captain Manpreet Singh are also on the list.
Expressing his gratitude for the honours, Neeraj penned a heartfelt message. As he thanked the nation for their support, he promised that he will continue working hard to bring yet more laurels to the country.
“Very honoured to be awarded the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna alongside some outstanding sportspersons. Aap sabhi ke sahyog aur support ke liye tahe dil se dhanyavad. Koshish ye hi rahegi ki aise hi apne performances se desh ke liya aur success haasil kar paun! Jai Hind,” Neeraj wrote.
Neeraj Chopra’s record galore at Tokyo Games 2020
India’s 121 year-long wait came to an end at the Tokyo Games as Neeraj bagged India’s maiden medal in track and field events. While numerous athletes including the likes of Milkha Singh and PT Usha, put their best foot forward on the big stage, they had failed to clinch the elusive podium finish. But Neeraj has put the wait to rest and that too in some style with a gold medal.
With the gold medal, Neeraj has joined the elite company of Abhinav Bindra, India’s first individual gold medalist at the Olympics. The 23-year-old is only the second Indian to achieve the feat. Bindra achieved the feat at the 2008 Beijing Games and 13 years down the lane, a 23-year-old Neeraj joined him at the top.
Ever since the inclusion of javelin throw in the Olympic Games, back in 1908, the sport has been dominated by the European powerhouses. After 113 years, an Asian has been able to clinch a medal in the event. Neeraj not only sealed a podium finish but emerged as the Olympic Champion to end the dominance of western nations in the sport.