Neeraj Chopra all praise for Bhubaneswar’s indoor athletics stadium

Bhubaneswar: Odisha had a special date with Neeraj Chopra as he landed at Biju Patnaik International Airport here earlier this week to take part in the Federation Cup athletics championships.

Not only was he participating in an event on Indian soil for the first time since clinching a historic gold medal at Tokyo Olympics, the javelin champion was visiting the state after a gap of nearly three-and-a-half years.

The 26-year-old superstar managed to win gold on Wednesday despite getting off to a slow start and trailing DP Manu, the eventual silver-medallist, at the halfway stage.

After his event, Neeraj was taken around the newly-constructed Indoor Athletics Stadium in the Kalinga Stadium complex. And he was mighty pleased to see the facilities. “When I came here previously, there was no indoor facility… saw the Indoor track, it’s very good. They maintain it well here,” Neeraj said in a video shared by Odisha Sports on X.

Neeraj was presented a memento by Bijayananda Nayak, Joint Secretary of DSYS, during his visit to the athletics stadium. “It felt good to visit Odisha after a few years and train at Kalinga Stadium… though the weather was a bit hot for me, I enjoyed competing (in Federation Cup),” said Neeraj who was part

Odisha had opened its doors to Indian athletes during the COVID lockdown in 2020-21 when Neeraj and others had trained at Kalinga Stadium. He was happy to see the crowd this time too. “A lot of people came to support us,” he said, adding that he met a number of athletes also.

As for his message to the youth, Neeraj said: “I would tell them to keep working hard and have patience. They should be fit, rest adequately and have a proper diet.” Looking ahead, Neeraj said “the year’s biggest event is Paris Olympics. I am training hard. Hopefully we will get good results.”

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