Olympian Neeraj Chopra Emerges as A ‘Real Hero’ for Confronting Hatemongers

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Neeraj Chopra and Arshad adeem at Asian Games 2018

Don’t use my comments as a medium to further your vested interests and propaganda, he tells those claiming that Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem tried to tamper with his javelin

Zafar Aafaq | Clarion India

NEW DELHI — Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra who recently accomplished a rare Olympic gold for India in Tokyo won yet another honour on Thursday: a massive praise from across the spectrum on social media after he put out a video on Twitter telling right-wing trolls not to use his comment for “your agenda”.

In a recent interview to The Times of India, Neeraj revealed that he had taken the first throw hurriedly because Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem was carrying his javelin. A section of the Indian media and right-wing social media users took the comment in a negative sense and launched a tirade against the Pakistani athlete claiming Nadeem tampered with Neeraj’s javelin.

But the Olympic hero from Haryana’s Panipat denied any mischief by his Pakistani counterpart and appealed that his name should not be used for the purpose of propaganda.

“All the personal javelins are kept in one place, where any thrower can use it, this is the rule. There was nothing wrong with him (Arshad Nadeem) taking my javelin and preparing for his throw. Before my throw, I asked him for it. I’m sad that a big issue is being made out of my comments. I request everyone not to do this.”

In another linked tweet Neeraj asserted that “sports unites people’” and urged his fans to not use his comments “as a medium to further your vested interests and propaganda. Sports teaches us to be together and united. I’m extremely disappointed to see some of the reactions from the public on my recent comments.”

The 23-year-old Neeraj had said in an interview with The Times of India published on Wednesday that before his first throw he was not able to find his spear as Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem was moving around with it.

This was construed by many social media users and a section of media to allege that Nadeem was tampering with Neeraj’s javelin in order to put him at a disadvantage.

Following this, Neeraj posted a video saying he was “extremely disappointed at the reactions” to his remarks.

Neeraj’s tweets drew attention of well-meaning people who hailed him as a hero for his courage to confront right-wing hatemongers and speaking about how sports teach unity among people who are divided by borders.

“So moving. And a perfect expression of the belief that people of talent don’t need hate. They have talent,” Aatish Taseer wrote on Twitter, quoting Neeraj’s video.

“Huge respect for Neeraj Chopra,” wrote film actor Swara Bhaskar.

Similarly, Mohammad Riyaz, a political commentator based in Kolkata, called Neeraj a “real hero” for confronting hatemongers.

Some people also lauded Chopra for the fact that he spoke out at a time when most of the sports persons or celebrities maintain silence on issues to avoid the ire of Hindu right-wing.

Journalist Jancy Jacob said, “Chopra could have chosen to keep quiet like many of our sportspersons do. But he has made it clear not to use his name to further propaganda”.

Neeraj Chopra won the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in style with two of his throws good enough to win the top prize in the men’s javelin final. With his very first throw, Neeraj Chopra achieved a distance no other athlete could in the entire final 87.03m.

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Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.

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