Indian javelin thrower and Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra gifted his javelin from Tokyo 2020 to The Olympic Museum, here on Saturday.
Chopra’s javelin joined another Indian individual Olympic gold medallist — shooter Abhinav Bindra’s triumphant rifle from Beijing 2008 in the Olympic heritage collection held at the Museum, a rich patrimonial collection that is aimed at securing the Olympic legacy and inspiring future generations.
The 39-year-old Bindra was also present for the occasion, which has now become an iconic moment for Indian sports fans.
“I’m grateful for this occasion. It is a privilege to join the hallowed galleries of The Olympic Museum, a space where the most iconic moments from Olympic history are showcased. For any athlete, it is a great honour to be able to inspire others,” said Chopra.
The reigning Olympic champion, who is also the Indian national record-holder, was the first track and field athlete ever to win a gold medal for India at the Games.
In his Olympic debut in Tokyo, Chopra threw 87.58 m in his second attempt, winning the gold medal and making him only the second Indian to win an individual gold medal, after Bindra’s win in the men’s 10-metre air rifle event in Beijing 2008.
“It is a pleasure to be able to witness this moment and share it with Neeraj,” said Bindra, who is also a member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission.
“Neeraj’s exploits in Tokyo inspired millions, and I am delighted that his javelin will now join my rifle at The Olympic Museum, which has been a bit lonely in terms of Indian company so far,” he added.
India’s two individual gold medallists then visited the Olympic Museum exhibitions together and did a live social media interaction with fans from around the world. They were joined by yet another Indian Olympian — former tennis player Manisha Malhotra, who represented India at Sydney 2000. Malhotra and Bindra had visited the IOC headquarters, Olympic House, a day earlier and signed the famed Olympians Wall.
“We wish Neeraj all the best for his future competitions and endeavours. We know there will be many more iconic moments in his future. As far as his Tokyo 2020 gold is concerned, we are thrilled that we can now capture and showcase that moment for posterity, with the acquisition of this javelin,” said Angelita Teo, Director of the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage, which oversees the Museum.
After having to pull out of the recent Commonwealth Games due to injury, the 24-year-old Chopra made his comeback to action at the 2022 Lausanne Diamond League meeting on Friday, winning it in style with his first throw of 89.08 metres. With that, he sealed his spot in the Diamond League final to be held in Zurich on September 7-8.
On the other hand, Bindra continues to be an active champion of the Olympic Movement, as an IOC Athletes’ Commission member and the leading advocate of the Olympic Values Education Programme (OVEP) in India, among many other roles.
He is also the founder of a non-profit organisation, the Abhinav Bindra Foundation Trust, devoted to sporting excellence by leveraging sports science and technology, as well as using sport for social impact through education.
Notably, items donated to The Olympic Museum become symbols of their time, as they join what is a rich 120-year collection managed by the IOC’s Heritage management team. This patrimonial management includes the acquisition, preservation, restoration, study and sharing of more than 90,000 artifacts, 650,000 photographs, 45,000 hours of videos, and 1.5km of historical archives.