Bharat Rathwa, an orphan boy from Chhota Udepur, had given up on his javelin because he thought there was no scope for it in India. However, things changed when Haryana’s Neeraj Chopra won the Olympic gold last year.
The 22-year-old tribal from a remote village in Gujarat picked up his javelin once again and made a stupendous comeback by winning gold at the 6th International Games in Nepal.
“This is my first gold medal at the international level, and I dedicate it to Neeraj Chopra.” “I can’t put into words how I feel, but this achievement has given me the confidence to compete at a higher level,” exclaimed Rathva.
Rathwa who began professionally practicing javelin only a year ago had won several javelin throwing contests in school but gave up the sport because he felt it didn’t have much scope in India. He played cricket instead till Neeraj Chopra brought popularity to javelin.
“I reasoned that if Neeraj can do it, so can I.” Bharat Rathwa felt and resumed his professional javelin practice. Within two months, he competed in his first inter-district open athletics championships in Himmatnagar in October and won a bronze medal.
When he won silver while competing in the state-level athletics championship in Rajkot, Rathwa was encouraged. A Gold medal followed in the national athletics championships in Morbi, as well as another gold in the national tournament this year.
Rathwa does not receive professional coaching. However, he had a brief training session in Delhi a few months ago.
” I wasn’t comfortable being trained in public,” he says, adding “I coach myself by watching YouTube videos and consulting some experts”
An orphan since he was about 14, Rathwa dropped out of school after failing to pass the HSC exams. He is in her sister’s care. “He has the potential to make it big in javelin throwing,” said Kishan Dalsania, secretary, of the sports, youth, and cultural department, Delhi.
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