Double Olympian and National record-holder in heptathlon, J.J. Shobha, said it is the greatest day for Indian athletics with Neeraj Chopra winning the gold in javelin throw in Tokyo Olympics on Saturday.
“This is an incredible effort. Honestly, I was always confident of a medal from Chopra this time in Tokyo given his performance sheet at international meets in the recent past,” Shobha said.
J.J Shobha in action at the National Inter-State Athletics Championship at the MGR Stadium in Madurai in 2008. – FILE PHOTO/M. MOORTHY
“But, winning gold is a huge bonus and should take Indian athletics to a different level. Getting the country it’s first medal in track and field events in Olympics and that too a memorable gold is something unbelievable. What a fantastic effort,” she said.
Neeraj Chopra on Olympic gold medal: Even if it weighed 10kg, it would feel light to me
With javelin being part of heptathlon, Shobha knows what it means to be a champion thrower and she said that Chopra was extremely confident when throwing with such a strong action. “Chopra looked fearless right through and perhaps his first effort in the javelin final itself could have had immense pressure on the other contenders,” she said.
SAI coach not surprised
N. Ramesh, Athletics Coach, Sports Authority of India (SAI), who was in Tokyo Olympics as coach of sprinter Dutee Chand, said the support staff was not surprised by Chopra’s effort. “He has the mindset of a champion and is a very humble and cool customer. A great athlete who is bound to achieve many more,” said Ramesh.
“During our interactions in Tokyo in the run-up to his competition and earlier during the national camps in Patiala, this gifted athlete was always confident of pulling off a special performance. A very confident personality who backed himself by the sheer weight of his efforts and performances,” he said.
National athletics coaches Captain Amrish Kumar and N. Ramesh
(right) with Olympics gold medallist Neeraj Chopra in Tokyo. – SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT
“Just remember that Chopra now has the unique distinction for an Indian athlete – being a gold medallist in Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and now in Olympics. This is an incredible achievement,” added Ramesh.