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Olympic Gold Medalist Neeraj Chopra Honoured with Padma Shri and Param Vashistha Seva Medal

PM Modi with Olympic gold medallist Neeraj  Chopra (SAI Media/Twitter)

PM Modi with Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra (SAI Media/Twitter)

Neeraj Chopra, the first Indian athlete to win a gold medal in track and field at the Olympics, was honoured with the Padma Shri and the Param Vashistha Seva Medal on the eve of Republic Day.

Neeraj Chopra is the first Indian athlete to win a gold medal in the Olympics as he bagged the gold medal in the men’s javelin throw at Tokyo and hence became the second Indian, after Abhinav Bindra to win an individual gold medal in the Olympics.

Neeraj was born on 25 December 1997 to Satish Kumar and Saroj Devi in Khandra village, Panipat district, Haryana. His family is majorly involved in agriculture and he has two sisters. Neeraj He is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts from Lovely Professional University in Jalandhar, Punjab, having completed his graduation from Dayanand Anglo-Vedic College in Chandigarh.

From being the first Indian athlete to win a World title in U-20 Track and Field, being the flag bearer at the 2018 Asian Games opening ceremony to flying India’s flag high at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Neeraj has come a long way.

A sporting prodigy from his youth, Neeraj won gold in the 2017 Asian Championships and the 2018 Asian Games as well as the Commonwealth Games. Neeraj though missed out on the opportunity to represent India in the 2016 Rio Olympics as he failed to qualify and missed the deadline.

Making up for his absence from the Rio Olympics, Neeraj made up with a historic throw of 87.58m on August 7, 2021 to etch his name in the memories of more than a billion Indians.

He is currently ranked second internationally by World Athletics.

Neeraj Chopra’s Major Achievements

South Asian Games
Gold – South Asian Games, 2016 Guwahati

World U-20 Championships
Gold – World U-20 Championships, 2016 Bydgoszcz

Asian Athletics Championships
Gold – Asian Athletics Championships, 2017 Bhubaneswar

Asian Games
Gold – Asian Games, 2018 Jakarta

Commonwealth Games
Gold – Commonwealth Games, 2018 Gold Coast

Olympics
Gold – Olympics, 2020 Tokyo

Neeraj Chopra was also honoured with Param Vashistha Seva Medal as well as the Padma Shri on the eve of Republic Day 2022.

Originally, Chopra enlisted into the Indian Army as a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) and Naib Subedar in 2016 under one of the Army’s oldest rifle regiments and his parent unit — 4 Rajputana Rifles. Naib Subedar is a rank that JCOs reach after 20 years of service. Chopra received a promotion after the Asian Games performance and presently holds the rank of Subedar.

In fact, Neeraj was also honoured with India’s highest sporting honour, the Major Dhyanchand Khel Ratna Award, last year. Chopra was conferred with the Arjuna Award in 2018 and Vishist Seva Medal (VSM) in 2020 for his excellence in sports.

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first published:January 25, 2022, 22:11 IST