Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar met Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra here on Wednesday and described the javelin thrower as the ‘golden boy’, who is not only the pride of Haryana, but also of the entire nation.
He also said that Chopra’s family has made a big contribution towards his achievement, and it is because of their efforts that the athlete has made the nation and Haryana proud.
On August 7, Chopra (23) created history by winning India’s first Olympic gold medal in athletics on the penultimate day of the Tokyo Games.
The athlete from Khandar village in Panipat district, who is a Subedar with 4 Rajputana Rifles in the Indian Army, clinched the gold in javelin throw with an attempt of 87.58 metres, becoming only the second Indian after Abhinav Bindra to win an individual gold medal at the Olympics.
In a detailed conversation with Chopra, the Chief Minister learned about his experiences, his coach and his national and international records.
Earlier, the Chief Minister welcomed Chopra with a bouquet and presented him with a shawl and a memento. He also presented a copy of Shrimad Bhagavad Gita to him, an official statement said.
The athlete’s uncle, Bhim Chopra, who was accompanying him, was also honoured.
On the occasion, Chopra invited the Chief Minister to visit his native village, to which Khattar assured that he would soon make a programme, adding that Minister of State for Sports and former Olympian Sandeep Singh will coordinate the trip.
Later, the Chief Minister told the media that developing the state as a sports hub is the top priority of the government. Exemplary players like Chopra will certainly play a pivotal role in inspiring the younger generation, he added.
Replying to a question, Khattar said that villagers of other sports persons have also met him and gave suggestions to promote sports.
The necessary facilities will be provided by the state government to promote sports, he assured.
The Chief Minister said that the Centre of Excellence for Athletics being set up in Panchkula would prove to be very effective for the promotion of sports.
Talking to the media, Chopra said that he felt bad for missing the state-level felicitation ceremony organised by the Haryana government on August 13 because of illness.
He also thanked the Chief Minister for honouring the women hockey players.
Chopra further said that only sports-related topics were discussed during his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as with Chief Minister Khattar.
“It is a great feeling that today I am meeting the Chief Minister. I will try my level best to make Haryana and the nation proud in the upcoming sporting events,” Chopra said.
Later, Chopra called on Governor Bandaru Dattatraya here, who described the athlete as the pride of Haryana.
The Governor presented a shawl and an idol of Lord Tirupati Balaji to the athlete, besides offering him special ‘Desi Ghee Churma’, a traditional dish of Haryana.
Dattatraya expressed confidence that Chopra will maintain his performance level in the future events and will cross many more milestones in the years to come, making the country proud.
The Governor also said that Haryana has emerged as a hub of sports, the credit for which goes to the state’s sports policy.
Under the new sports policy, prizes worth crores of rupees are being given to sportspersons. An amount of Rs 6 crore has been announced for Olympic gold medallists, Rs 4 crore for silver medallists and Rs 2.5 crore fro the bronze medallists from the state.
Also, job offers and other facilities have also been announced to the medal winners under the new sports policy.