India’s first-ever athletics gold medalist Neeraj Chopra has urged people to not “further vested interests and propaganda” after his comments regarding Pakistan’s javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem during the finals of the quadrennial event were blown out of proportion on social media, Indian Express reported
The 23-year-old bagged India’s second-ever individual Olympic gold medal earlier this month with a throw of 87.58m in the men’s javelin final. In a recent interview with The Times of India, Chopra revealed that he wasn’t initially able to locate his javelin during the event because Nadeem had been “moving around” with it before his first throw.
“I was searching for my javelin at the start of the final (in Olympics). I was not able to find it. Suddenly, I saw Arshad Nadeem was moving around with my javelin. Then I told him, ‘Bhai give this javelin to me, it is my javelin! I have to throw with it’. He gave it back to me. That’s why you must have seen I took my first throw hurriedly,” Chopra was quoted as saying by The Times of India.
After his comments, fans took to social media to question Nadeem’s intentions with some reports even claiming that the Pakistani athlete was trying to “tamper” with Chopra’s javelin.
Chopra took to Twitter to give his input regarding the issue. “I would request everyone to please not use me and my comments as a medium to further your vested interests and propaganda. Sports teaches us to be together and united. I’m extremely disappointed to see some of the reactions from the public on my recent comments,” the caption said.
I want to talk about an issue… in a recent interview, I had talked about how I had taken my javelin before a throw in the Tokyo Olympics finals from Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem. Now, this has been turned into a huge issue for no reason. Javelin throwers keep their personal javelins in one place before any event and all athletes can use them… it’s a rule. So obviously, it was not wrong of him to prepare with my javelin,” Chopra said in a video.
“I am saddened to realise that people are exaggerating the issue on the back of my name. Sports is something that teaches us to walk together and all javelin throwers share mutual respect and love. So, please don’t say hurtful things,” he concluded.