Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra not only became India’s first Olympic gold medalist in 13 years, but also the first track and field athlete to achieve the feat. The javelin thrower cut off his famous long mane before the games and explained the reason behind it.
Sporting stars with long hair have made headlines in India in the past as well. Neeraj Chopra was one of them. When the teenager won the World Junior Championships in 2016, she flaunted her hairstyle. On the top step of the podium at the Asian Games in Jakarta, Neeraj hung a gold medal with long hair falling around his neck.
In the past, Neeraj didn’t want Let go of her long hair, saying that it looks good on her. However, ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, the biggest event of her nascent yet decorated career, the star athlete decided to cut her long hair.
Speaking at the media organization’s Conclave 2021, Neeraj on Friday (October 8) revealed why he gave up on long hair.
Neeraj Chopra said, “It kept falling on my eyes, the hairstyle definitely didn’t help. So I cut it. If something unfortunate happened, people would point fingers at my long hair.”
“I tried wearing a cap and covered my head too. But nothing worked in the competition. When I felt for the final break, the hair fell further. My face was dripping with sweat.
“50 percent of my concentration went into handling my hair.”
Well, letting go of his long hair was not the only sacrifice that Neeraj made for the historic Olympic gold medal. Emphasizing that he never missed his coach’s instructions, Neeraj said that he felt quite guilty even if he missed a repetition during his workout.
“I used to follow whatever my coach told me to the T. If the coach told me to do something, for example, say I missed a repetition during my workout, I felt very guilty. Happened. I never stopped working,” he said.
Notably, Neeraj topped the qualification with a single throw and won the historic gold medal for India with a best throw of 87.58m in the much-awaited final.
The long hair is gone but the swag that Neeraj is known for was clearly visible. The javelin thrower knew he had done enough when he threw the javelin on a damp evening in Tokyo on August 7. The 23-year-old, a reflection of the confidence of new-age athletes, raised his arms in delight.