How Much Did Govt Spend on Neeraj Chopra's Tokyo Olympics Preparations?
Neeraj Chopra's Tokyo medal campaign was supported by Government of India's TOPS scheme and by private sponsor JSW.
Neeraj Chopra won the gold medal in the men's javelin throw event at the Tokyo Olympics 2020, becoming India's second individual Olympic gold medallist after Abhinav Bindra. He is the first athlete from Independent India to win a medal in a track and field event.
The star athlete was first recognised 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 it was past the qualification deadline and he had to wait five whole years for his time in the spotlight.
In the five years, his medal campaign was supported by Government of India's TOPS scheme and also by private sponsor JSW.
But, how much did the government spend on Neeraj's training and preparations in this Olympics cycle? Here's a breakdown:
According to a document shared by the Sports Authority of India, the government spent Rs 4.85 crore on Neeraj for his training and competitions overseas for the 450 days leading up to the Tokyo Olympics. He participated in 26 competitions in the current Olympics cycle and set up overseas training camps in South Africa, Poland, Turkey, Finland, Czech Republic, and Sweden.
While javelin throw legend Uwe Hohn had been initially signed on as Neeraj's coach in October 2017, Dr Klaus Bartonietz replaced him in late 2019 following Neeraj's elbow surgery in May that year. The two have since been working together, with the government saying they spent Rs 1.22 crore as his salary to date.
A total of four javelins have been procured for Neeraj so far at the cost of Rs 4,35,000, according to the Sports Authority of India document.
In 2021, Rs 19.22 lakh was spent on Neeraj after he set up an Olympics preparatory camp in Sweden for 50 days to compete in European tournaments before flying out directly to Tokyo.
But Government Not the Only Driving Force
While the Indian government played a vital role in Neeraj's Olympics campaign, the champion athlete also had the assistance of private bodies like JSW Sports, who were part of his journey.
Ishaan Marwaha, Neeraj's physio for the last many years, is in fact an employee of JSW and has been a big part of his rehabilitation after the 2019 elbow surgery and also going into the Olympics
"Yes, he is our employee. Neeraj has a certain way he likes to be stretched and there's certain way his recovery works and now Ishaan knows his body better than anybody. I think Ishaan has played a big part in keeping Neeraj injury free," JSW's Head of Sports Excellence and Scouting Manisha Malhotra told The Quint.
"Neeraj has a physio but there was a time we got him a South African physio when he was training there, for a different perspective. In the middle, when he didn't have a coach, we sent him to Germany to train," added Manisha.
JSW, in fact, also assisted Bajrang Punia's campaign with the wrestler too spending time after his injury at their IIS centre near Bengaluru to rest and recover.
"We had Bajrang working with a lot of strength and conditioning experts to get his fitness going. In some scenarios he likes particular training partners to go with him to places to be able to work on things and so those are the kind of facilities we provide," Manisha added.
"Our goal is that the Indian athlete gets any and everything that they want. Whether it is supplementing what the government is giving them or if, sometimes, we have to do a lot more than what others are (doing)," she added.
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