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Neeraj Chopra's journey from chubby kid to Tokyo gold

February 11, 2024 15:53 IST

Never got mentally down when people made fun of my weight: Neeraj Chopra in Fit India Champions podcast

Neeraj Chopra

Photograph: Kind Courtesy World Athletics/Instagram

Neeraj Chopra, the man behind the javelin revolution in India, is known for his humbleness despite becoming an athletics icon.

The Golden Boy has spoken about his life journey in the second episode of the 'Fit India Champions' podcast released on Saturday.

From a chubby youngster to a world champion, Chopra has spoken on life career transformation.

The first episode featured armless archer Sheetal Devi on January 27.

A flagship programme of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, the Fit India Mission is an endeavour to spread the virtues of physical and mental wellness. The 'Fit India Champions' podcast series is aimed at spreading the good words through conversations with athletes and health influencers who are acting as catalysts for change.


Neeraj Chopra's journey to the Tokyo Olympics gold wasn't meant to be as he was obese back in the day and nobody believed in him making a mark in sports. He however kept the belief in himself and 2011 was the start of a new journey in life.

"I had excess flab when I was young and people kept telling me I cannot get into sport because of being obese and overweight. Listening to all these, however, never made me feel mentally down. I wanted to turn around my physique and rectify it."

"Everything changed when I went to the stadium in 2011 and took up javelin," Chopra revealed in his conversation with the podcast host, Shrimati Ekta Vishnoi, the Mission Director of Fit India and the Deputy Director General, Sports Authority of India.

"That's when my journey started and in 2021, I bagged the gold in Tokyo. I'm happy to have given my 100 per cent. The medal was an added bonus but all I wanted was to be happy with my performance," Chopra added.

A complete believer in desi Indian diet, Chopra stressed on the need for fitness. "Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given the clarion call of 'Fitness ki dose, aadha ghanta roz' (minimum 30 minutes of fitness activity daily), but you can go beyond the training time of 30 minutes a day. You can go for outdoor exercises and even work out at home on a mat. It doesn't necessarily have to be a gym."

Gunning to defend his yellow metal at the upcoming Paris Olympics, Chopra said that India is performing very well in a lot of sports and praised the upgradation of sports science facilities in various centres.

"Every sport is growing leaps and bounds in the country from chess to archery to shooting and athletics. I'm also particularly impressed by (long jumper) Sreeshankar Murali and (steeplechaser) Avinash Sable. India is doing well across all sports," Chopra mentioned.

"Sports science facilities too are also increasing. There are new technologies installed at the SAI Centre in Patiala where I train, right from cutting-edge fitness checking machines to recovery equipment and state-of-the-art javelin throw machine. With so much advancements being made, we are very well placed to challenge European athletes," he added.

Source: ANI