Tuesday May 24, 2022

India spent Rs100m on gold medalist Chopra in four years

The government spent INR48,539,638 on Neeraj for his training and overseas competitions for the 450 days leading up to the Tokyo Olympics.

August 10, 2021
Neeraj Chopra. File photo
Neeraj Chopra. File photo

ISLAMABAD: Neeraj Chopra’s gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics cost Indian Sports Authority around PKR100 million that were being spent since he failed in his bid to grab medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Chopra became the first Indian track and field athlete to have won the gold in over 100 years. The moment he broke the Under-20 Youth Games record in 2016, he stepped into the spotlight with Indian Sports Authority making every effort to bring the best out of him by hiring the services of renowned coaches and giving him required international exposure besides helping him with stipend and other necessary financial assistance.

Though Chopra has hit the goldmine since his winning throw at the Olympics, he got all the support from the Indian government, corporate sector and all the relevant institutions in run up to Olympics 2020.

In all, Chopra’s preparations for the Olympics cost Indian sports around Rs100 million. He is an athlete who was also funded under the TOPS scheme.

The star athlete burst onto the scene when he broke the Under-20 world record at the 2016 IAAF World U20 Championships. His attempt of 86.48m could have won him a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics but he missed the qualification’s deadline and he had to wait five years for this moment.

Five years saw his medal campaign supported by the government, TOPS scheme and also by private sponsors JSW but, how much did the government spend on Neeraj’s training and preparations in this Olympics cycle? Here’s a detail of the spending on the athlete.

According to Sports Authority of India, the government spent INR48,539,638 on Neeraj for his training and overseas competitions for the 450 days leading up to the Tokyo Olympics. Dr Klaus Bartonietz was made Neeraj’s personal coach following his elbow surgery in March 2019 and the government has paid him INR1,22,24,880 as salary to date.

A total of four javelins (special) have been procured for Neeraj so far at the cost of INR4,35,000. In 2021, INR19,22,533 has been spent on Neeraj after he joined a camp in Sweden for 50 days to compete in European tournaments before flying out directly to Tokyo.

He has been seen competing in all major international events during the last four years mastering the art of javelin throw. On the other hand, Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem never had the access to even five percent of training, coaching, exposure and financial assistance that was on offer for the Indian gold medal winning athlete.

If we compare Arshad and Chopra’s talent, the Pakistan athlete is far ahead in that category. However, Arshad was unlucky not to have proper access to all those facilities that was available to Chopra.