Neeraj Chopra won a historic gold medal in the men's javelin throw, ensuring India's best-ever Olympic campaign at the Tokyo 2020 Games. Chopra became the first athlete from independent India to win a medal in a track and field event.
Bajrang Punia, on the other hand, won the bronze medal in the men's freestyle 65kg category, defeating Daulet Niyazbekov of Kazakhstan. Punia, who had suffered a humiliating 5-12 defeat in the semifinals to Azerbaijan's Haji Aliyev, redeemed himself by winning India's sixth medal of Tokyo 2020 with a convincing 8-0 victory in the bronze medal battle.
Here are some lesser-known facts about star athletes.
Javelin Thrower Neeraj Chopra
- Neeraj's loving grandma fed him all the wonderful, calorie-rich desi treats as a child, and he grew up to be a chubby child. Javelin thrower Jaiveer of Binjhol noticed him while jogging at Shivaji stadium in Panipat in 2011 (he was 85 kg). His height is 6'1".
- Garry Calvert, who coached Neeraj Chopra to become the country's first-ever World Champion in a track and field event when he won gold at the U20 World Championships in Finland, died of a heart attack in Beijing in July 2018. Neeraj had shown his console about the situation by tweeting about it.
- Uwe Hohn, a retired German track and field athlete who participated in the javelin throw, is Neeraj's current coach. Hohn, however, is the only athlete who has ever thrown a javelin over 100 meters. Since 1986, a new javelin was devised and adopted, Hohn's world record of 104.80 m has become an "eternal world record."
- Neeraj is from the village of Khandra in Haryana's Panipat district. Neeraj grew in a 17-member joint family and was the eldest of the children.
- Due to his busy performing schedule throughout India and overseas, Neeraj was only able to attend normal school until Class IX and is presently pursuing his BA-II from Kurukshetra University under the open school system. He was also promoted to Naib Subedar in the Indian Army after winning the U-20 championship in 2016.
Wrestler Bajrang Punia
- Bajrang Punia was born in the city of Jhajjar in the Indian state of Haryana on February 26, 1994.
- Bajrang Punia was introduced to wrestling by his father, who used to wrestle in a local akhada.
- Bajrang has won 7 medals at the Asian Wrestling Championships, including 2 gold, 3 silver, and 2 bronze.
- He won a Silver and two Bronze medals at the World Championships.
- Bajrang has two Asian Games medals, one gold, and the other silver.
- Bajrang has two Commonwealth Wrestling Championships medals to his name, both of which are gold.
- Bajrang Punia received the Arjuna Award in 2015, the Padma Shri award, and the Khel Ratna award in 2019.
- Tokyo Olympics 2020 was the Bajrang Punia's first Olympic Games.