Body shamed at 12, 20-year-old Haryana boy throws his javelin at Gold at Savo Games

31st Jul 2018
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Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra wins gold, beating his Chinese Taipei counterpart Chao-Tsun Cheng at Savo Games in Finland.

Haryana boy Neeraj Chopra struck Gold at the Savo Games in Finland. Ahead of the Asian Games showdown, star Indian javelin thrower Neeraj defeated his Chinese Taipei counterpart Chao-Tsun Cheng.

Hailing from Khandra in Panipat, Neeraj's family was one of the 500 families that lived in the village. With no playground, gym or a stadium, the youngster practicised in the lush green of the fields. Growing up, he was often body shamed and teased for being an obese child.

Neeraj, whose family comprised 17 members, sought initial inspiration from his father, Satish, who says the villagers constantly mocked Neeraj for being a heavy child.

Neeraj's father, Satish, at their farm. Source: The Indian Express

From the fields of Khandra village, Neeraj soon found a local gym where he started to train. He eventually found a coach in Jaiveer, a javelin thrower. It was under Jaiveer's guidance that he won his first national medal and made it to the national headlines. In 2016, he put Khandra on the global map with India’s first gold at the World Championship in Poland, according to The Indian Express.

The reigning medalist and Asian season leader recorded an impressive 85.69m. Cheng managed an 82.52m to rank the second. At 23, the Chinese player is the only Asian to have thrown the javelin beyond 90m, says ESPN. He threw 91.36m during the World University Games in Taipei last year to break the record of Zhao Qinggang of China at 89.15m at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon.

Source: ESPN

Leading the Asian charts, Neeraj is at the top of the rank list, says News 18. He has a record of 87.43m as his personal best from the Diamond League Meeting in Doha in May. Earlier this year, he claimed a gold at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast and is readying for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Neeraj dedicates his success to his former coach Gary Calvert, who passed away recently. The 63-year-old Australian was serving as the Chinese national javelin coach when he died. He served India from February 2016 to April last year. Under his guidance, Neeraj won gold at the 2016 World Junior Championships in Poland. Neeraj had earlier tweeted:

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