Neeraj Chopra scripted history by becoming the second-ever Indian to win an individual gold in the Olympics in August, and while his win was met with joy and appreciation by most Indians, in some situations, the questions posed to the Olympian may have been stretched a bit too far. Chopra is the only Indian to win a gold medal in Tokyo Olympics 2020. The 23-year-old farmer’s son from Khandra village near Panipat in Haryana produced the second 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. This was Neeraj Chopra’s first appearance at the Olympics but his journey towards clinching an Olympic berth has not been easy, amid a few injury setbacks hindering his goal.
In the interviews that followed, Chopra has been quizzed by Indian media on a variety of things in his personal life, but some questions have perhaps been a bit too intrusive. A clip of art historian Rajeev Sethi has been going viral on Twitter, drawing backlash for his comments, and the question he posed to the gold medalist.
In the claim that has gone viral, Rajeev Sethi exclaimed is heard asking Chopra, “How do you maintain a balance between your sex life and athletic training? I know this is a weird question," he says. He also says, that while it is a “strange question," there is some “serious question" to it as well.
Clearly uncomfortable with the question in the video, Chopra is heard saying, “Sorry, sir," implying he doesn’t want to answer the question. In the video, Sethi still persists with the question, and when Chopra turns it down a second time, the historian says, “Forgive me for asking that…," and before he can explain, Chopra cuts him off to say, “Aapke question se mera maan toh bhar gaya," which loosely translates to ‘My heart is overwhelmed by your question.’
If you thought Malishka was Cringe WATCH Rajeev Sethi go a STEP FURTHER 😡 He asked Neeraj Chopra : "How Do you Balance your Sеx Life with your training??" Disgusted Neeraj replied "Aapke question se mera mann bhar gaya" #NeerajChopra #RajeevSethi pic.twitter.com/qwVd7hAot4— Rosy (@rose_k01) September 3, 2021
The video was met with much backlash.
Media persons need to recognise that @Neeraj_chopra1 is a national icon. They need to treat him with respect irrespective of his age or background. The repeated instances of casual disrespect are a reflection of a deep-rooted class bias.— Sanjeev Sanyal (@sanjeevsanyal) September 4, 2021
An inspiring athlete and army officer who made 1.3 billion Indians feel proud all over the globe 🇮🇳and then comes this absolute creepiness and stupidity by #RajeevSethi. Instead of giving him time and respect, they are into such nonsense..🤦🏻♂️#NeerajChopra
— Satyam Singh (@MyFreakyTweets) September 4, 2021
If you think Malishka's interview with #NeerajChopra was cringe…today @rajeevsethi_ asked something which made rhe young athlete finally disgusted enough to say ki "aapke question se mera mann bhar gaya"… tharki cretin— Curiosweety (@curiosweetie) September 3, 2021
Athlete wins Olympic medal.Normal people : can you tell us about your preparation and struggle ?
Rajeev Sethi : HoW dO YoU bAlAnCe YoUr SeX lifE & tRaInInG ?
— Sai Aditya Nayudu (@ImTheSkylord) September 4, 2021
Why should anyone be interested in knowing about how an athlete balanaces her/his sex life with sports? Really, these are the Qs we ask of @Olympics medallists? Disgusting attempt to intrude privacy of #NeerajChopra by art historian #RajeevSethi.— উৎপল বৰপূজাৰী Utpal Borpujari (@UtpalBorpujari) September 4, 2021
This isn’t the first time an interview with Chopra has been criticized for being lewd. Earlier in August, RJ Malishka Mendonsa’s moves during a videocall to interview him, have majorly been deemed inappropriate. In the 45-second video, Mendonsa and some if her female colleagues were seen dancing to the song ‘uden jab jab zulfein teri‘ from the Bollywood movie Naya Daur. In the clip, Mendosa is also seen carrying a flower, which she gestures towards Chopra. Sharing the clip on Twitter, Mendonsa had written, “Ladiesssss..Yes I got the hard hitting, deep answers too but..Take the first 4 secs before the cam moves to the zoom call to guess who we are dancing."
Calling their act ‘disgusting,’ ‘cheap’ Indians on Twitter didn’t mince their words on calling out their inappropriate behaviour. Some Twitter users even apologised on behalf of the RJs, pointing out how the dance made Chopra feel ‘awkward’ and somehow disrespected someone of his stature. One user also asked the RJs to ‘stop romanticising male players’ adding that they were ‘much more than a sexual object.’