Need I say more? Subedar Neeraj Chopra threw a spear in Tokyo, and struck our hearts back home.
For once, cricket took a backseat, and a seemingly nondescript event, one that does not even register on our radars, found flavor with over a billion people.
And I join all Indians in celebrating our first individual gold in track and field, in one hundred years.
Yes, it has taken that long. But it has been done. And now, look out for projectiles all across the playing fields in the country, for Neeraj has taken the sports world by storm.
It helps that he brings to the sport a certain glamour quotient – the swag, the style of hair flying behind him as he hurls the spear well beyond our own capabilities (not that I have ever tried it).
But like the picture above, it presents a fantastic rhyme of poetry in motion.
And so I read up a bit about the sport, and found that the current world record is in excess of 98 meters. Neeraj’s person best is just shy of 89 meters. So a lot more to go, and a lot more records to set.
Today however, we celebrate his reaching the pinnacle of any sport – the Olympic Gold. While naysayers will also come up with the billion people one medal comparison, let’s just be festive for a few days.
A big ceiling has been breached. We will, in the next few years, see a lot more medals in track and field. A lot more youngsters will be encouraged to take up such sports, beyond the ‘PT Class’ in school.
A lot more sponsors will come forth. Government initiatives, mileage, and many good things in the pipe.
But remember – the biggest initiative will have to come from us parents. To encourage our kids to take up sports. To be sportsmen. Not just engineers and doctors. As I said before, encourage athletes not just once in four years, but on an ongoing basis. Give them endorsements, interviews, life stories…there is a series on You Tube now that gives us a 10-12 minute look into the lives of these Olympians, and it is interesting. Build a sporting culture, with these as the starting icons of each sport.
Today is the most important day in Indian track and field history. Many congratulations!