Neeraj Chopra: Want to write my own story
India’s Golden Boy, Neeraj Chopra once again stole the show at Lausanne Diamond League 2023, but his aim is to win the gold for the World Athletics Championships. While prepping for it in full force, he wishes to some day write his story, in his own words.
Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra recently stole the show at Lausanne Diamond League 2023 (second-time in a row), in Switzerland, by winning it with a best throw of 87.66m. No wonder he’s fondly referred to as India’s Golden Boy, which is like a ready title when he plans to write his story. But, the 25-year-old javelin thrower says, during a virtual media interaction: “I feel abhi mujhe aur khelna hai and there is still a lot more to achieve. Abhi toh World Championship ka gold bacha hua hai!”
He’s prepping in full force for the World Athletics Championships — to be held in Budapest (Hungary) next month — and reveals that he would indeed like to write a book some day on his journey of becoming India’s Golden Boy. Ask who he feels will be apt for this job, and he replies, “There are great writers in our country who could possibly write about my journey. But, when the time comes, I would like to share my story in my own words. Maybe [by then] I would have learned how to write, just like how I learned how to speak in interviews (smiles).”
One thing he didn’t have to learn was to be the moral support for newcomers, to help them navigate the world of national and international athletics. He admits he calls up and motivates juniors before their important tournaments. “I see myself as a bhaiyya (older brother) to young athletes. Be it seniors or juniors, I respect them all. But more importantly, I personally get motivated when I meet and talk to youngsters from different fields. They come from backgrounds that we can’t even imagine. Their stories deserve to be told! For instance, I am especially close to (long jumper) Murali Sreeshankar. After he finished fifth at the Diamond League, he could have easily blamed the weather or felt low. Instead, he is focussing on the future and is bettering his form. That motivates me to look forward and set personal milestones for myself.”
His personal milestones, however, do not include breaching the 90m mark or clinching another gold at the Olympics. “My mind never goes there. Such a way of thinking will only create unnecessary mental pressure on myself. Instead, my target is to improve my physical and mental fitness so that I can be confident of giving my 100%. Medal ka kya hoga ya uss din ka throw kaisa rahega, woh ussi din set hoga. Mujhe, apna best karna hai bas,” says Chopra, adding that outside the field, what keeps him entertained is his fondness for movies. “I usually don’t get time but when I do, I like to watch some films on OTT platforms. The last one I watched was Chris Hemsworth’s Extraction 2 and I really enjoyed it,” he concludes.
Author tweets @KritiKambiri