Neeraj Chopra gifts Tokyo 2020 gold-medal-winning javelin to The Olympic Museum

Indian javelin thrower and Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra gifted his javelin from Tokyo 2020 to The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. In what was an iconic moment for Indian sports fans, India’s only other individual Olympic gold medallist – shooter Abhinav Bindra – was also present for the occasion.

IOC/Christophe Moratal IOC/Christophe Moratal

Chopra’s javelin joined Bindra’s triumphant rifle from Beijing 2008 in the Olympic heritage collection held at the Museum, a rich patrimonial collection that is aimed at securing the Olympic legacy and inspiring future generations.

As he handed over his javelin, Chopra said “I’m grateful for this occasion. It is a privilege to join the hallowed galleries of The Olympic Museum, a space where the most iconic moments from Olympic history are showcased. For any athlete, it is a great honour to be able to inspire others.”

The reigning Olympic champion, who is also the Indian national record-holder, was the first track and field athlete ever to win a gold medal for India at the Games. In his Olympic debut in Tokyo, the 23-year-old Chopra threw 87.58 m in his second attempt, winning the gold medal and making him only the second individual Indian to do so, after Bindra’s win in the men's 10-metre air rifle event at Beijing 2008.

Neeraj Chopra, Manisha Malhotra and Abhinav Bindra IOC/Christophe Moratal - Neeraj Chopra, Manisha Malhotra and Abhinav Bindra

“It is a pleasure to be able to witness this moment and share it with Neeraj,” said Bindra, who is also a member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission. “Neeraj’s exploits in Tokyo inspired millions, and I am delighted that his javelin will now join my rifle at The Olympic Museum, which has been a bit lonely in terms of Indian company so far!”

India’s two individual gold medallists then visited the Olympic Museum exhibitions together, and did a live social media interaction with fans from around the world. They were joined by yet another Indian Olympian – former tennis player Manisha Malhotra, who represented India at Sydney 2000. Malhotra and Bindra had visited the IOC headquarters, Olympic House, a day earlier and signed the famed Olympians Wall. 

Abhinav Bindra  and Manisha Malhotra IOC/Christophe Moratal - Abhinav Bindra and Manisha Malhotra in the Olympic House

“We wish Neeraj all the best for his future competitions and endeavours,” said Angelita Teo, Director of the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage, which oversees the Museum. “We know there will be many more iconic moments in his future. As far as his Tokyo 2020 gold is concerned, we are thrilled that we can now capture and showcase that moment for posterity, with the acquisition of this javelin.”

After having to pull out of the recent Commonwealth Games due to injury, Chopra made his comeback to action at the 2022 Lausanne Diamond League meeting just a day earlier, winning it in style with his first throw of 89.08 metres. With that he sealed his spot in the Diamond League final to be held in Zurich on 7-8 September.

Neeraj Chopra Getty Images - Neeraj Chopra in Lausanne

Bindra continues to be an active champion of the Olympic Movement, as an IOC Athletes’ Commission member and the leading advocate of the Olympic Values Education Programme (OVEP) in India, among many other roles. He is also the founder of a non-profit organisation, the Abhinav Bindra Foundation Trust, devoted to sporting excellence by leveraging sports science and technology, as well as using sport for social impact through education.

Items donated to The Olympic Museum become symbols of their time, as they join what is a rich 120-year collection managed by the IOC’s Heritage management team. This patrimonial management includes the acquisition, preservation, restoration, study and sharing of more than 90,000 artefacts, 650,000 photographs, 45,000 hours of videos, and 1.5km of historical archives.

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