Neeraj Chopra gives an autograph on the Hungarian lady’s shirt sleeve.© X (formerly Twitter)
Neeraj Chopra is the toast of the nation, yet again. The 25-year-old javelin thrower, who has taken Indian athletics to a stupendous height with his achievements, did a first for India on Sunday night, when he won the World Championship gold medal in Budapest, Hungary. Already an Olympic champion, an Asian Games gold medallist and a Commonwealth Game winner, Chopra won the last missing major title in his career in style. With a throw of 88.17m, Chopra ensured that India return from the marquee event with a gold medal.
After the event ended, Chopra had an interesting encounter, which goes on to show his level of maturity off the field too. A Hungarian lady asked for his autograph after the gold medal win. Chopra realised that the lady was asking for an autograph on an Indian flag. He politely refused to sign on the Indian flag and instead gave an autograph on the lady’s shirt sleeve. The lady was happy nonetheless.
Journalist Jonathan Selvaraj, whose bio on X (formerly known as Twitter) reads ‘Sports & stories for Sportstar’ captured the moment in Budapest, and his post has gone viral.
A very sweet Hungarian lady (who spoke excellent Hindi btw) wanted a Neeraj Chopra autograph. Neeraj said sure but then realised she meant on the flag. ‘Waha nahi sign kar sakta’ Neeraj tells her. Eventually he signed her shirt sleeve. She was pretty happy all the same. pic.twitter.com/VhZ34J8qH5
— jonathan selvaraj (@jon_selvaraj) August 28, 2023
Neeraj has been a trail-blazer of sorts. After he made it big in javelin throw, the athletics discipline showed a great potential. The result was that two other athletes Kishore Jena and DP Manu also finished in top-6 in Sunday’s final.
Gagan Narang, 2012 Olympics bronze medallist in shooting, said that the current crop of Indian athletes are fearless and have gone through a paradigm shift when it came to winning mentality.
“They are fearless. What differentiates them from us is that they are out there to win and not just participate. In our times, we would go there to participate or get into the finals. These kids, they just want to go out there and win. They have fire in their belly,” Gagan Narang told NDTV.
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