August 7, 2021. Neeraj Chopra of India in action REUTERS

India went into grand celebrations on Saturday evening after its ace athlete and javelin-thrower Neeraj Chopra won the first gold medal for the country at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics.

This is the first-ever Olympics Gold medal for India in a track-and-field event, and also the first in the past 13 years.

People burst fire crackers and danced on drum beats on the streets to celebrate the moment. TV channels showed jubilation from different states, particularly from Chopra’s home state Haryana, in north India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Chopra on achieving the feat. “History has been written at Tokyo! What Neeraj Chopra has achieved today will be remembered forever. The young Neeraj has done exceptionally well. He played with remarkable passion and showed unparalleled grit. Congratulations to him for winning the Gold,” tweeted Modi.

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President Ram Nath Kovind also congratulated the Indian athlete on winning the lone gold medal for the country.

Despite the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar announced a special celebration on Aug. 13 in Chopra’s honour.

“As we had promised earlier, we will give him a monetary reward of 60 million Indian Rupees (around 808,625 U.S. dollars) and a senior official’s job in the Haryana government,” announced Khattar after receiving the news of Chopra winning a gold medal in Tokyo.

“We are planning to set up a Centre for Excellence in Athletics in the Panchkula town. We will offer Chopra the top post in that Centre,” said the chief minister.

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