Neeraj Chopra can spur on a generation: Ashton Eaton

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | October 14, 2023 IST

Neeraj Chopra

New Delhi, Oct 14: The 18th edition of the Delhi Half Marathon celebrated some of the Asian Games champions at the 'Beyond the Finish Line' event, here. Asian Games medallists HS Prannoy, Priti Lamba, Annu Rani, Kartik Kumar, Saurav Ghosal and Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar were present at the event in the presence of Dronacharya Awardee Suma Shirur.

“Until 2018 things were going well. After that things started to go off, injuries and health issues derailed my progress. But that’s where support from a lot of people helped me, made me believe that it is not over, and understand that sport is like this. There will be tough patches, but you have to keep working hard. Post the Covid-19 pandemic, I decided to reboot and start afresh. All the work I had put in over the years, was paying off and the experience has taught me to manage my body,” said HS Prannoy.

Asian Games Gold Medallist Annu Rani, one of the fastest long-distance runners in Asia, Kartik Kumar, and the decorated veteran Saurav Ghosal spoke about their determination and discipline, which helped them break a few glass ceilings.  

“I fought with my federation to allow me to go and train overseas. However, I didn’t start the stint well, losing a series of competitions. But I was focused on winning the Asian Games, it was do or die for me, and eventually I was able to rise to the occasion in Hangzhou, and win against an Olympic and former World Champion. It was all down to the hard work and hours that had gone in before,” said Annu Rani.

Another person who knows all about coming through the ranks as an athlete, with a fair amount of support from the system is the two-time Olympic champion Ashton Eaton. The American ace is still the only athlete to have crossed the 9000-point mark, twice, in a decathlon.  

“It was Michael Johnson, who spurred on a generation with his golden spikes and wonderful performances, and Neeraj Chopra can definitely do that with Indian athletics, and sometimes that's just what you need. Sport is about celebrating human potential and expressing what we are capable of. And we always want to get better, it's about human potential and it's about discovering the potential and sharing it with the world too,” said Ashton Eaton. 

Meanwhile, Asian Games Bronze Medallist Priti Lamba said, “It was very important for me to win a Medal at the Asian Games. If I didn't make it then it would've been the end of the road for me. I promised myself that I would give it my all, and then leave it to God. My father was in tears after I won the Medal and he told me that I have added 10 years to his life.”

The Delhi Half Marathon will be flagged from the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Sunday. (IANS)

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