'I just want to say, no matter who the opposition is, give your best, that is all you need to do and this is what this gold medal stands for.'
Newly-crowned Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra on Monday revealed that he was in pain after his epoch-making performance in the Tokyo Games but it was worth enduring given the historic result he achieved.
At a felicitation ceremony organised by sports minister Anurag Thakur to honour India's seven medal winners at the Tokyo Olympics after their arrival in New Delhi, the javelin thrower said he knew he had done something special with the second attempt of 87.58m in the finals that fetched him the gold.
"I knew I had done something special, actually I thought I had achieved my personal best. The throw had gone really well," Chopra said, referring to the 88.07m he achieved earlier this year.
"The next day my body felt how special it was with all the pain but it was worth it," he quipped.
"This medal is for the entire country."
The 23-year-old Army man said the only message he has for the country's sportspersons right now is never fear.
"I just want to say, no matter who the opposition is, give your best, that is all you need to do and this is what this gold medal stands for. Never fear the opposition," he said.
Chopra became not just India's first Olympic gold-medallist in 13 years but also the first track and field athlete from the country to achieve the feat.
He got his famously long mane chopped before the Games and when asked about it in lighter vein, the youngster said, "I like long hair but I was getting irritated by the heat, long hair causes lot of sweating. So I got a hair cut."
While Chopra added the golden sheen to the campaign, the silver medals came from weightlifter Mirabai Chanu and wrestler Ravi Kumar Dahiya.
The bronze medals were claimed by boxer Lovlina Borgohain, shuttler P V Sindhu, the men's hockey team and wrestler Bajrang Punia.