Neeraj Chopra’s family had to be persuaded to let him join the Indian Army to secure his future as an athlete. The Subedar ranked officer of the Rajputana Rifles created history by becoming the first-ever Indian to claim an individual Olympic medal in track and field events in 121 years.
Already a national hero after the historic triumph at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Neeraj Chopra has been very busy attending felicitation ceremonies, public meets and media events in the past month. Back in 2011, Neeraj’s parents insisted him to join a gym after he started to gain weight. It was then he came across athletes practicing at the Shivaji Stadium and subsequently had an inclination towards javelin throw.
However, the Olympic gold medallist, who is also a Subedar ranked officer in the Indian Army could have well missed out an opportunity to excel in his career. In fact, his parents were hesitant for him to join the army.
As per the Lieutenant General (Retd) Abhay Krishna, who was the then commanding officer of the Rajputana Regiments, stated that it was after the persuasion of a team of army officers, who identified the talent of Neeraj in 2016, that his family finally gave consent.
"In January 2016, the athletic sports coach of the Raj Rif had first met Neeraj at Patiala. At that time, his javelin throw was at around 80 meters. Consequent to my directions, the sports officer visited Neeraj's village in March 2016 to meet him and his parents. After long persuasion, they convinced Neeraj to join RAJ RIF as his future would be secure in the Indian Army. Neeraj and his family consented to this,” said Lieutenant General (Retd) Abhay Krishna, as reported by India Today.