'Waha nahi': Neeraj Chopra refuses to sign on Indian flag to keep its dignity - Hindustan Times
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'Waha nahi kar sakta': Neeraj Chopra refuses to sign on Indian flag to keep its dignity, gives autograph on fan's sleeve

Aug 29, 2023 08:50 AM IST

Neeraj Chopra refused to sign on the Indian national flag to protect its dignity and instead, gave the autograph on the fan's sleeves.

Neeraj Chopra is an icon, an ambassador and a role model in every possible way. His exploits with the javelin in hand are more than enough to put him right up there among the best-ever sportspersons of India but it is his actions, words, and demeanour away from the track and field that place him on a pedestal very few can even dream of, let alone reach. Neeraj, who became the first Indian to win gold at the World Athletics Championships with an 88.17m throw in the men's javelin final at Budapest in Hungary, won hearts with multiple gestures during and after the event.

Neeraj Chopra gives autograph(@jon_selvaraj)
Neeraj Chopra gives autograph(@jon_selvaraj)

Neeraj was seen celebrating and congratulating DP Manu and Kishore Jena's - the other two Indians in the men's javelin final - efforts. After the event, Neeraj celebrated with Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch, the bronze medal winner and asked Pakistan's Arshad Nadeem, who had won silver, to join them for the photo-op. Nadeem was looking for a Pakistan flag but Neeraj asked him to join in the celebration without one. The duo also embraced each other.

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Neeraj's statesman-like behaviour did not end there. The Olympic champion, who has now won every global and continental javelin throw event at the age of 25, saved his best for the last. According to Sportstar journalist Jonathan Selvaraj, who was in Budapest, A Hungarian lady requested Neeraj's autograph. The world champion, who is also among the two Indians along with Anju Boby George to get a podium finish at the worlds and the only one with two medals including gold, happily obliged but after learning that she wanted his sign on the Indian national flag, Neeraj politely refused.

"Waha nahi kar sakta (Can't sign there)," he said. Neeraj, however, was not the one to disappoint a fan. He, instead, signed on her sleeves.

Notably, lettering of any kind on the Indian national flag is prohibited under the Flag Code of India 2002.

‘World Championships tougher than Olynpics’: Neeraj Chopra

Neeraj, who also confirmed his quota for next year's Paris Olympics, rated the World Champions tougher than the Olympics.

"Olympics was very special and the World Championships is a big title. If you talk competition-wise, World Championships is always tougher than Olympics. All the athletes come prepared for this.

Thanking his supporters who came to cheer for him, Neeraj did not forget to share words of encouragement for teammates DP Manu and Kishore Jena who finished in the top six, making India the first nation to have three athletes in the top six of a javelin final at the worlds.

"Many people came from India here and local public support was also great. This win is special. Kishore Jena and DP Manu also did very well (finished fifth and sixth). Our athletics is growing. But we have to do a lot of work also. I spoke to Adille sir (AFI president) about the Mondo tracks here and hoping that we will also have this in India just like here. We will do even better in coming years," Neeraj added.

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