- Neeraj Chopra created history by becoming the second Indian to win an individual gold medal in Olympics after shooter Abhinav Bindra. Neeraj is the first Indian in over 120 years, and the first athlete from independent India, to win an Olympic medal in a track-and-field discipline. Neeraj won the gold medal in the men’s javelin throw event with a throw of 87.58m in his second attempt.
- Chopra, a junior officer in the Indian army with the Rajputana Rifles, made his first mark on international athletics with a world junior title in 2016. Two years later, he became the first Indian athlete to win the javelin at the Asian Games and at the Commonwealth Games.
- The 23-year-old son of a farmer from Khandra village near Panipat in Haryana produced a second round throw of 87.58m in the finals to stun the athletics world and end India’s 100-year wait for a track and field medal in the Olympics. Neeraj Chopra’s gold took India’s medal count to seven at the Tokyo Olympics – the best ever, bettering the tally of six medals at the London Olympics in 2012. Chopra also became the sixth Indian athlete to win an individual medal at Tokyo 2020 joining weightlifter Mirabai Chanu, shuttler PV Sindhu, boxer Lovlina Borgohain, wrestlers Ravi Kumar Dahiya and Bajrang Punia.
- India’s only previous athletics medals came in 1900 – two silvers won by Norman Pritchard, son of a British colonial family, in the 200m and the 200m hurdles. And despite a record number of hockey team golds, the nation’s only previous individual gold was won by shooter Abhinav Bindra in 2008.
National awards and decorations
- Arjuna Award – 2018
- Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM) – 2020 Republic Day honours
Tokyo 2020 medal winners for India
- Gold – Neeraj Chopra (Men’s Javelin Throw)
- Silver – Mirabai Chanu (Weightlifting: Women’s 49kg )
- Silver – Ravi Kumar Dahiya (Wrestling: Men’s 57kg freestyle)
- Bronze – Lovlina Borgohain (Boxing: Women’s Welterweight)
- Bronze – PV Sindhu (Badminton: Women’s singles)
- Bronze – Men’s Hockey Team
- Bronze – Bajrang Punia (Wrestling: Men’s 65kg freestyle)