Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra will be the flag bearer for the country in the upcoming Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The announcement was made by Dr Narinder Batra, the President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), on Aug.10 during the send-off ceremony organized for the Indian contingent.
The 20-year-old athlete thanked the IOA for the honor. “It is a matter of great pride for me. I want to thank IOA for this. I am feeling very excited and happy,” Chopra told ANI.
The 2018 Asian Games will take place from Aug. 18 to Sept. 2 in the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang. Track and field events start on Aug. 25.
“My javelin final is on Aug. 27 but now I have to be there in Jakarta before Aug. 18 when the opening ceremony is being held. But it is not an issue and I am happy,” Chopra said, according to PTI.
Indian Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, tweeted his best wishes to the Indian team headed for the event. “You’ve trained hard. Now is your chance. Go for Gold, champs! Make us proud,” he posted on Twitter.
Chopra’s most recent accomplishment came when he won the gold medal at the Sotteville Athletics meet in France last month. He became the first Indian javelin thrower to win a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games, held in April this year, when he recorded a season’s best performance of 86.47m in the finals. In May, he shattered the national record with a massive throw of 87.43m, his personal best so far, at the IAAF Diamond League in Doha, where he secured the fourth position.
The javelin thrower from Panipat has been showing consistent results since 2016, when he won the gold at the IAAF World U-20 Championships in Bydgoszcz. After that, he clinched the gold medal in the Asian Athletic championships in 2017.
Former hockey captain Sardar Singh was India’s flag bearer at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, where India finished at the eighth position. India won a total of 57 medals, comprising 11 gold, 10 silver and 36 bronze medals.
This year, the Indian contingent consists of 756 members, with 572 athletes and 184 coaches and support staff.