Neeraj Chopra, Relay Team and Some Politics
I am a fan of Neeraj; I felt proud and surprised to see our 4×400 m relay team breathing down the necks of the US runners in the qualifying heat of World Athletics; when India-Pakistan win Gold and Silver in the same event, it is difficult to keep politics out of our minds. Let me share my thoughts on all of the above issues.
Neeraj is the best track and field athlete ever in Indian history. Olympic Gold, World Athletics Gold and Silver put him ahead of any other Indian athlete.
Neeraj and Jan Zelezny
Neeraj comes close to the greatest Javelin thrower ever, Jan Zelezny. How?
Neeraj at 6’ weighs 86 kg; Jan at 6’ 1” weighed 86 kg in his prime.
Zelezny holds the world record of 98.48 m, and the World Championships record of 92.80 m. He is the only person to throw the modern javelin over 95 m. Jan won 1 silver and 3 gold medals at the Olympics & 3 world titles in his career. 25-year-old Neeraj has plenty of future in athletics. He is yet to cross the 90 m mark, which incidentally Nadeem has done.
Neeraj-Nadeem Friends and Inspiring Role Models
Neeraj and Nadeem of Pakistan are good friends and have been inspiring role models for Javelin throwers in India and Pakistan. India had two other throwers in the final of the recently concluded World Athletics at Budapest, namely Manu and Jena. Pakistan’s Yasir was ecstatic to receive a congratulatory call from Neeraj upon winning a Bronze Medal at the Asian Athletics in Bangkok.
Upon seeing the friendship of Neeraj and Nadeem I was reminded of India’s Bopanna and Aisam of Pakistan, who formed a good doubles team in Tennis for a short while. Neeraj is a role model for not just Indians but Pakistanis.
Neeraj-Nadeem and India-Pakistan Rivalry
India-Pakistan could well have been like the US and Canada and both countries would have benefited immensely. However, the Pakistan Army, in order to maintain its preeminent status, cultivated hatred for India since its independence and then we had Zia, who mixed Allah and terrorism with the Army to make it a strong cocktail to keep Pakistan drunk for years and impeded progress. In Modi, India now has a Hindu version of Zia to promote Muslim and Pakistan hatred and India is (arguably) regressing under him. Neeraj-Nadeem bonhomie is a big dampener to the immense efforts of the hate mongers on both sides. I look forward to more Neeraj-Nadeem, Bopanna-Aisam, Sania-Shoaib kind of bonhomie than brainwashed kids like Ajmal Kasab and the thriving current hate mongers like Minister Anurag (“Goli maro—“), Modi’s WhatsApp University and Godi media.
4×400 m Relay Team: Amar- Akbar-Akbar-Anthony
The present 4×400 m relay team of Ramesh, Anas, Ajmal and Jacob does not have a Milkha or an Usha but all of them are just around that level and all four are in their prime together. Destiny conspired to ensure that the religious composition of the team mocks at the idea of a fraud “Hindu Rashtra” being promoted today by a PM who recognizes the culprits from his dresses and the immensely popular criminal use of ‘bulldozer justice’ against poor Muslims by the state. “Amar-Akbar-Akbar-Anthony,” of the 4×400 m relay team represent the true India.
Neeraj and Politics
Neeraj is a courageous, altruistic, young man and I personally find his quality of altruism most inspiring. He stood in support of the protesting women wrestlers when icons like Sachin, Viraat (neutral), Usha and Mary Kom (negative) chose to safeguard their personal interests above those of brother-sister sportspersons. He also rubbished efforts by the Godi media to incite Indo-Pak enmity when Nadeem had used Neeraj’s javelin during a competition.
Neeraj Compared to Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali emerged as a role model for the Black Americans in the 60s-70s and remains an inspiring icon even today. He stood for equality. He stood against the Vietnam War and even went to jail as a consequence. He regained the World championship after his jail term. Neeraj is not only a champion like Ali but has also stood for sportsmanship, friendship, peace and justice. Contemporary Indian society is seriously short of inspiring role models. I am sure Neeraj will stand tall among Indian role models and would not let his followers down, like Sachin and Virat did by parroting the government dictated lines in criticizing Rihanna, when she stood in support of the Indian farmers.
I salute you Neeraj for what you have done and even more for who you are. I salute Ramesh, Anas, Ajmal and Jacob for showing to the world that the true India is the one in which “Amar-Akbar-Anthony” work as a cohesive team. Jai Hind!
By: Col. MM Nehru