Celebratory scenes were witnessed in Haryana on Saturday with people, overwrought with emotions, taking to the streets to rejoice at Neeraj Chopra's gold-medal winning feat at the Tokyo Olympics.
The 23-year-old on Saturday became only the second Indian to win an individual gold in the Olympics and the first from the country to claim a track-and-field medal at the Games.
The phone hasn't stopped buzzing in the Chopra household ever since as congratulatory messages poured in from several dignitaries. Chopra's father Satish, who has a farming background, said his son had made the entire country proud.
"He had the blessings of the entire country," he said. The news of Chopra's victory came shortly after wrestler Bajrang Punia had claimed a bronze, which led to a big celebration in Sonipat. And it continued as fans in Sonipat, Rohtak, Jhajjar, Bhiwani and Panipat rejoiced the performances of the players from the state.
The Chopra family had put up a giant screen and all from the neighbourhood, including children, had gathered there to watch the live-action from Tokyo. With a battery of media persons at their home, the Chopra family was busy attending to the guests.
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who earlier spoke to Bajrang Punia's father, also rang up Chopra's parents to congratulate them. Chopra's second-round throw of 87.58m in the finals not only stunned the athletics world but also ended India's 100-year wait for a track and field medal in the Olympics.
With this win, he won the country's seventh medal and also joined shooter Abhinav Bindra (2008 Beijing Games) as India's only second individual gold winner in the showpiece. The Haryana government also announced a cash reward of Rs 6 crore for the star Javelin thrower.
Chopra had earlier raised hopes of a gold medal after reaching the final round with a throw of 86.65 m in his first attempt in the Olympics. His neighbours here said that he was always full of motivation and knew he would win gold.
Neeraj Chopra's uncle Bhimsen Chopra said that he was confident that he will give India Olympic gold. Nearly, five years ago, Chopra had become the only Indian athlete to win a gold medal at the world level when he made a new U-20 world record of 86.48m in the men's javelin throw event in the IAAF World U-20 Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
Many locals said that he had started the sport after watching some of his village seniors and joined the athletics nursery in Panchkula nearly ten years ago.