New Delhi: As Neeraj Chopra scripted history by winning India's first Olympic gold medal in athletics, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and the armed forces on Saturday hailed the Army man, saying he made the country proud by performing like a "true soldier". Chopra is a Subedar with 4 Rajputana Rifles in the Indian Army and hails from Panipat in Haryana.
The defence minister said the "golden victory" of Subedar Chopra at the Tokyo Olympics is a historic and proud moment for the entire country including the Indian armed forces. "The Golden victory of Subedar Neeraj Chopra at the Olympics brings laurels for the Indian Army. He performed like a true soldier at the Olympics. It is indeed a historic and proud moment for the entire country including the Indian Armed Forces! Many congratulations to him!" Rajnath Singh tweeted.
Chief of Army Staff Gen MM Naravane and all the ranks of the force also congratulated Chopra on winning the gold medal with a throw of 87.58 metres. "General MM Naravane #COAS and All Ranks of #IndianArmy congratulate Subedar Neeraj Chopra on winning Nation's first-ever #GoldMedal in #Javelin in Olympics with a throw of 87.58 meters at #TokyoOlympics," the Army tweeted In a message.
Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat said Chopra has done the armed forces and the nation proud like many other Olympians who have created history in the Tokyo Olympics. "Neeraj Chopra has proven that when there is a will there is a way…We are confident you will continue to reach greater heights in the years to follow. Your achievement will inspire and motivate other sportspersons to aspire and succeed to bring bigger laurels and a greater honour to our nation," Gen Rawat said.
The Indian Air Force also congratulated Subedar Chopra for the "phenomenal achievement". A number of former Army generals also took to Twitter to congratulate Chopra. "Hail Neeraj Chopra! Hail Indian Army for enabling him to win Olympic Gold. Jai Hind," former Army Chief Gen (retd) VP Malik said. 23-year-old Chopra became the country's first track-and-field Olympic medallist with his gold, which was India's first since shooter Abhinav Bindra''s win in the 2008 Beijing Games.
Chopra was born on December 24, 1997, in a family of farmers from a small village of Khandar in Panipat. His father Satish Kumar is a farmer and his mother Saroj Devi is a housewife. He grew up along with his two sisters, said an Army official. Neeraj started javelin to reduce weight as he was quite healthy and quickly took a liking for the sport, he said. "The rest is now history. He came into prominence with his performance at World Under-20 Championship, Poland where he set a new junior world record with a throw of 86.48 metres," the official said. He won Asian Championship 2017 in Bhubaneswar with a throw of 85.23 metres, the official said. Chopra started training under the legendary Uwe Hohn of Germany and won the gold medal in Commonwealth Games 2018 with a throw of 86.47 metres and threw his personal best of 87.43 metres in the Doha leg of Diamond League in 2018, the official added.