Olympic gold-medalist Neeraj Chopra has opened up on his weight-loss journey, saying everything changed when he decided to take up javelin in 2011.

Apart from winning the Olympic gold, Neeraj has also won gold in the 2023 World Athletics Championship in Budapest, after which he finished on top of the podium at the Hangzhou Asian Games.

Speaking on the ‘Fit India Champions’ podcast, Chopra revealed that he had excess flab when he was a kid, adding that people kept telling him that he couldn’t get into sports before of his weight. Chopra remains the only Indian to win a gold medal in track and field events in the Olympics.

“I had excess flab when I was young and people kept telling me I cannot get into sport because of being obese and overweight. Listening to all these, however, never made me feel mentally down. I wanted to turn around my physique and rectify it. Everything changed when I went to the stadium in 2011 and took up javelin,” said Chopra.

“That’s when my journey started and in 2021, I bagged the gold in Tokyo. I’m happy to have given my 100 per cent. The medal was an added bonus but all I wanted was to be happy with my performance,” Neeraj added.

Watch: Son of the Soil: The untold story behind Neeraj Chopra’s greatness

He went on to say that every sport is growing rapidly in India, while adding that the sports facilities in India have advanced, which puts the nation in a good place to challenge European athletes. Chopra has been honored with several prestigious awards, including the Arjuna Award in 2018, the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award in 2021 and the Padma Shri in 2022.

“Every sport is growing leaps and bounds in the country from chess to archery to shooting and athletics. I’m also particularly impressed by (long jumper) Sreeshankar Murali and (steeplechaser) Avinash Sable. India is doing well across all sports,” said Neeraj.

“Sports science facilities too are also increasing. There are new technologies installed at the SAI Centre in Patiala where I train, right from cutting-edge fitness checking machines to recovery equipment and state-of-the-art javelin throw machine. With so much advancements being made, we are very well placed to challenge European athletes,” Neeraj added.

Neeraj has now turned his attention towards the 2024 Paris Olympics as he gets set to defend his title in the summer.

Published By:

Rounaq Sehrawat

Published On:

Feb 11, 2024


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