Srinagar, Aug 9: The rise of India's new Olympic hero Neeraj Chopra is proving out as inspiration for J&K athletes who now think they can also do it.
While being inspiration for the whole country by becoming the first ever track and field gold medalist in Olympics, Neeraj is also turning out to be inspiration and role model for J&K athletes who are not known as good in Olympic sports disciplines and importantly in track and field.
Over the years, barring few Olympic disciplines, J&K athletes have been failing miserably at National-level in A-grade Olympic events while being worse in athletics too.
The meteoric rise of Neeraj Chopra in Indian sports arena from being a simple kid who took to athletics to lose weight to achieving India's first track-and-field Olympic gold-medalist has become a motivating factor for J&K players.
The inflow of sportspersons at multi-sports facility of Gindun stadium Rajbagh has increased and same can be said about Indoor stadium Polo Ground and other facilities.
"It has been the Olympic season and it normally turns the atmosphere festive. However, Neeraj Chopra’s winning first ever Olympic gold medal for India in track field has changed everything. It gives athletes new hope that they can also do it. There is increase in the inflow of athletes coming to Gindun for various disciplines and also one can see gradual change in motivation as well," said Managar Gindun Stadium Rajbagh Mushtaq Zargar.
Bilquis Mir a known face of sports in J&K who has herself been inspiration for thousands of girls in the UT termed it a great motivating factor for young athletes.
"Definitely the gold medal winning feat of Neeraj Chopra at grandest stage of sports is turning out as motivation and inspiration for our players. I am seeing visible change among young sportspersons who think they can also do something similar," said Bilquis.
"It is matter of great pride and it is completely due to Neeraj's talent, hard work, mental fitness and professional coaching inputs. It requires a lot of sacrifice, self-discipline, targeted approach and scientific support. Coming up from such a humble background he is an inspiration for the budding athletes of the J&K. He is inspiration and motivation for all of the upcoming and budding players," she added.
Former J&K cricketer and ace sports administrator Ranjeet Kalra from Jammu said that Neeraj is perfect role model for every aspiring sportsperson in the country and especially for J&K players.
"Neeraj Chopra's success story is a shining example as to how a person coming from a humble background can achieve the highest level of success with hard work, unflinching commitment and determination.
“There will be difficult times, there would be setbacks but one should never give up. One should learn from the failures and do course correction. Speak to your coaches and senior players whenever in doubt and continue to work hard success shall surely come your way," Kalra said.
Ajuna Awardee gymnast turned coach Krupali Singh while commenting on Neeraj Chopra's feat said, "He dreamed, he believed, he achieved, Neeraj Chopra is not a name from small town of Haryana anymore but has now became a great source of inspiration and motivation for all sports persons especially for those who have dream to perform for India. His splendid performance has sparked in all J&K athletes a fire to perform to their ultimate best and make India and every Indian proud".
J&K's Dronacharya Awardee coach Kuldeep Handoo said that it is going to change sports scenario in J&K. “It is not only coaching, we need to give whole system to the athlete who work behind the screen for the athlete. Players across the country are very much thrilled with the first ever gold medal for the athletics, especially in J&K. We have got potential, we need government support for the fulfillment," Kuldeep Handoo said.
A young aspiring runner from Kashmir Muzamil Mir said that for athletes like him Neeraj is perfect role model.
"He has showed everyone how to achieve your potential. He went to stadium for something else and soon realised what can be perfect setup and role for him. He is a role model and sportspersons like me and others in J&K can look up to him for achieving our goals," Muzamil said.