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India celebrated a historic day on August 7, as 23-year-old Neeraj Chopra became the first Indian to win an Olympic gold medal in athletics. In the men's javelin throw event, he achieved his greatest triumph, throwing the javelin 87.58 meters on his second try.
Neeraj Chopra was born on December 24, 1997, in Khandra village in Haryana's Panipat district. He grew up in a Haryanavi family of farmers. He is the brother of two sisters. He graduated from Dayanand Anglo-Vedic College in Chandigarh and is now enrolled in Lovely Professional University in Jalandhar, Punjab, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree. Chopra was bullied due to his obesity as a kid, which prompted his father to enroll him in a nearby gym. He then joined a gym in Panipat, where Jaiveer Choudhary, a javelin thrower, noticed his potential and coached him. When the 13-year-old Chopra finished training under Jaiveer for a year, he was enrolled at the Tau Devi Lal Sports Complex in Panchkula, where he began training under coach Naseem Ahmed.
In 2018, he broke the world record in the javelin throw and became India's first-ever gold medalist in the javelin throw. He is also a laureate of the Arjuna Award for 2018. | Wikimedia Commons
Chopra's first international medal came in 2014, as he took home a silver medal at the Youth Olympic Qualification Tournament in Bangkok. In 2015, he set a world record in the junior category of 81.04 meters in the 2015 All India Inter-University Athletics Meet.
Since emerging into the public eye with a historic gold medal at the junior world championships in 2016, he has maintained a high level of performance, setting an Under-20 world record of 86.48m, which still stands. Gold medals in both the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2018 Asian Games are among his other accomplishments, including a first-place in the 2017 Asian Championships. In 2018, he broke the world record in the javelin throw and became India's first-ever gold medalist in the javelin throw. He is also a laureate of the Arjuna Award for 2018.
Chopra has also had his share of bad events in life. In 2019, he underwent surgery on the elbow of his right throwing arm, which kept him out of the game for almost a year. However, he returned more robust than ever. In November 2019, he went to South Africa to train from Klaus Bartoneitz. He spent the following year in India training at the NIS Patiala because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He was allowed to go to France with his coach after weeks of trying to get a travel visa.
Neeraj Chopra made history in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by becoming the first Indian to win a gold medal in athletics. Also, it is worth mentioning that after Abhinav Bindra, Chopra is only the second Indian to win an individual gold medal.
Keywords: Neeraj Chopra, Olympics, Tokyo2020, Gold medal, javelin, India, Haryana
Celebrating the success of Olympic medalist Saikhom Mirabai Chanu, the weightlifter here on Friday visited the adidas store at The Promenade Mall in Vasant Kunj, where Mirabai was presented with customised adidas shoes.
During the event, Sunil Gupta, Senior Director, Brand adidas, was also present along with several young girls from the weightlifting community.
Mirabai Chanu not only left everyone amazed and proud, but also emerged as an inspiration and driving force for several women to take up the courageous sport across the nation.
On Mirabai's recent victory, Sunil Gupta, Senior Director, brand adidas, India said, "We are extremely proud of Mirabai's success, and it gives us immense pleasure to be a part of her incredible journey. Our aim is to enable all athletes including our partners to achieve their "impossible" by providing them with the best products in training and competition. I hope her success inspires young girls to believe in their dreams and see possibilities of fulfilling them".
Sunil Gupta further stated, "Mirabai Chanu's Olympic Medal is more than just an accomplishment for the athlete as she redeemed herself from several hurdles in the past. Staying true to our commitment of supporting women, brand adidas intends to bring more women focussed products to encourage them to break barriers".
During the event at the adidas store, Mirabai Chanu said, "My journey from a remote village to representing our country at an international sporting event, clearly showcases that sport doesn't care about gender or stereotypes. In our society, weightlifting has always been perceived as a male dominated sport, it took a lot of courage and hard work to break such stereotypes. I want women to dream and believe in themselves to be able to see possibilities".
She met young girls from the weightlifting community and spent time hearing out their aspirations, challenges they faced and what inspired them to take up weightlifting as a sport.
She concluded the conversation by motivating the young girls by sharing her journey and experiences including many high and lows. Mirabai's journey is a classic tale of an uphill struggle, where her rebellious optimism and sheer hard work took her to the world stage.(IANS/PP)
The official price tag for the Tokyo Olympics in $15.4 billion, which a University of Oxford study says is the most expensive on record. What else could those billions buy?
The ballpark figure for building a 300-bed hospital in Japan is $55 million. So you could put up almost 300 of these.
The average elementary school in Japan costs about $13 million. For that price, you get 1,200 schools.
A quick search finds a Boeing 747 is priced at roughly $400 million. Voila: 38 jumbo jets for the cost of the Tokyo Olympics.
The point is that Olympic Games are costly and may bump aside other priorities. In fact, several Japanese government audits say the real outlay for the Tokyo Games is even more than the official figure, perhaps twice as much. All but $6.7 billion comes from public money from Japanese taxpayers. According to the latest budget, the IOC's contribution is $1.3 billion. It also chipped in several hundred million more after the pandemic.
Olympic costs have been dissected in a study by the University of Oxford, which found that all Games since 1960 have had cost overruns averaging 172%. Tokyo's cost overrun is 111% or 244%, depending on which cost figure you select.
"The IOC and host cities have no interest in tracking costs, because tracking tends to reveal cost overruns, which have increasingly become an embarrassment to the IOC and host cities," Oxford author Bent Flyvberg said in an email. Flyvberg also pointed out that costs would be reduced if the IOC picked up more of the bills rather than opening organizers' wallets.
Following costs is a tedious exercise, dotted with arguments about what are — and what are not — Olympic expenses. Flyvberg explained that numbers from different games can be "opaque and noncomparable" and require sorting and tracking.
"The problem is disentangling what is Olympics cost and what is just general infrastructure spending that would have happened anyways but was sped up for the Olympics," Victor Matheson, who studies sports economics at College of the Holy Cross, wrote in an email.
For example: The 1964 Tokyo Games, he says, "were either one of the cheapest or one of the most expensive Games depending on how much of the preparation costs count as the Olympics."
The 2008 Beijing Olympics, usually listed as costing more than $40 billion, and the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, priced at $51 billion, are often singled out incorrectly as the most expensive.
"The numbers for Beijing and Sochi likely include wider infrastructure costs: roads, rail, airports, hotels, etc. Our numbers do not," Flyvberg wrote in an email.
The blur around costs — and who pays — allows the IOC to pitch the Olympics as a global party that brings the world together and promotes world peace. Everybody is seen to benefit, and the financial interests of the not-for-profit IOC are hidden behind national flags, pomp and ceremony, and heart-tugging stories about athletes winning gold and beating the pandemic.
Tokyo, of course, saw costs soar with the postponement. Officials say the delay added $2.8 billion to the final total. The postponement and a subsequent ban on fans also wiped out virtually all ticket sales income, which was budgeted at $800 million. That shortfall will have to be picked up by Japanese government entities — likely the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
Tokyo organizers raised a record $3.3 billion from domestic sponsors, driven by giant Japanese advertising company Dentsu Inc. But many sponsors complained openly in the run-up to the Games that their investment was wasted without fans. Toyota, one of the IOC's top 15 sponsors, pulled its Games-related advertising off television in Japan because of public discontent about holding the Olympics in the middle of a pandemic.
The big winner appears to be the Switzerland-based International Olympic Committee, which by holding the Olympics — even without fans — assured broadcast rights income of $3 billion to $4 billion. The IOC is essentially a sports and entertainment business, and almost 75% of its income is from selling broadcast rights, with another 18% from sponsors.
The IOC was able to drive the Games forward, partly because the terms in the so-called Host City Agreement favor the IOC and not the Japanese hosts.
In an interview last week, President Thomas Bach said financial interests were not at the center of the IOC's decision to postpone instead of cancel.
"We could have canceled the Games 15 months ago," Bach said. "Financially, it would have been the easiest solution for the IOC. But we decided at the time not to cancel the Games, not to draw on the insurance we had at the time."
The IOC has never said how much insurance coverage it has for such eventualities, nor what is covered.
So why did Tokyo want the Olympics? Why does any city? German sports economist Wolfgang Maennig said the Olympics offer little economic boost. So any value must be elsewhere. He has often likened the Olympics to throwing a big party for your friends and overspending, hoping they go away happy and remember you fondly.
"After three decades of empirical research, economists agree that the Olympics do not generate any significant positive effect on national (or even regional) income, employment, tax income, tourism etc.," Maennig, a 1988 Olympic gold medalist in rowing, wrote in a email.
Good for the home team
He said any benefits were elsewhere and include home-field advantage and more medals for home athletes, new sporting facilities, enhanced international awareness and fast-track decision-making around urban regeneration. Japan's Olympic performance has been in line with that; it has won more gold medals and overall medals than ever before.
Much of the Olympic benefit goes to construction companies and contractors. Tokyo built eight new venues. The two most expensive were the National Stadium, which cost $1.43 billion, and the new aquatic center, priced at $520 million. The next two Olympic organizers — Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028 — say they are cutting back drastically on new construction.
Though Tokyo probably suffered short-term economic losses from the pandemic and absence of fans, any losses are relatively small for a country with a $5 trillion economy.
In another study of Olympic costs by Robert Baade and Victor Matheson, "Going for Gold: The Economics of the Olympics," they point out that Olympic investment is risky and only a few reap the benefits.
"The goal should be that the costs of hosting are matched by benefits that are shared in a way to include ordinary citizens who fund the event through their tax dollars," they wrote. "In the current arrangement, it is often far easier for the athletes to achieve gold than it is for the hosts."(VOA/HP)
By Himanshu Pal
Neeraj Chopra, VSM, has become the first ever Indian track and field athlete to win a GOLD medal at Olympics. Subedar Neeraj Chopra created history after he clinched the gold in javelin throw with an attempt of 87.58 metres.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Neeraj Chopra, he wrote on Twitter, "History has been scripted at Tokyo! What Neeraj Chopra has achieved today will be remembered forever. The young Neeraj has done exceptionally well. He played with remarkable passion and showed unparalleled grit. Congratulations to him for winning the Gold."
History has been scripted at Tokyo! What @Neeraj_chopra1 has achieved today will be remembered forever. The young Neeraj has done exceptionally well. He played with remarkable passion and showed unparalleled grit. Congratulations to him for winning the Gold. #Tokyo2020 https://t.co/2NcGgJvfMS
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 7, 2021
Subedar Neeraj Chopra VSM, represented India in Athletics (Men's Javelin Throw), at the Tokyo Olympics. He has become the first track and field athlete to win a gold medal for the country. Soon after the news of his historic victory at Olympics, his native village in Panipat Haryana, erupted into celebrations. Also, Famous personalities across the country took to social media to hail the Star Olympian.
Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar congratulated Neeraj Chopra on his victory. He also announced a 6 crore reward money and 'A Grade' post in government service for Chopra.
Interestingly, India's two gold medal-winning Olympians have a Chandigarh connection -- Neeraj Chopra and shooter Abhinav Bindra.Shooter Abinav Bindra and Neeraj Chopra who won the gold in Beijing in 2008, grew up in the Chandigarh suburb Zirakpur and Chopra studied at the DAV College, Sector 10, Chandigarh.