On Friday, August 6, 2021, Neeraj Chopra got India its first gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics and the first gold for the country since Abhinav Bindra's 2008 shooting medal.
This was also India's first gold in a track and field event, a long-standing dream dreamt most passionately by the legend Miljha Singh who couldn't live to see it.
Neeraj's 87.58 meter-long throw created history in more ways than one, and while we celebrate him, let's not forget to also credit his coach Uwe Hohn, who is a legend in his own right.
Neeraj Chopra’a coach Germany’s Uwe Hohn held a record of 104.8m, before the javelin design was changed and old records not counted! What a legend, he is coaching a future legend too! #Tokyo2020 #NeerajChopra #TeamIndia #Gold 🥳🥳 pic.twitter.com/n7exg0rhMc— मेहरान 🇮🇳 (@mehranzaidi) August 7, 2021
Uwe is a German sporting icon who holds the record for the world record of the longest javelin throw in recorded competitive history.
His throw of 104.80 meter is actually an 'eternal world record' because the rules of Javelin throw were changed soon after.
In case you are wondering why after more than 30 years, javelin throwers are averaging distances much less than the World Record of 104.80 metres set by Neeraj Chopra's coach Uwe Hohn in 1984, it's because the javelin was redesigned in 1986 for two important reasons. pic.twitter.com/yThOhg1ksB— Joy Bhattacharjya (@joybhattacharj) August 8, 2021
He won the gold at the World Cup, 1985 (which was the best performance by a javelin thrower that year) and European Championships, 1982.
He began his career as a coach in India in the year 2017, and in just 4 years, helped the nation create history.
Uwe Hohn, The German coach of #NeerajChopra, is one of the greatest Javelin throw athletes in the history of Sports— Punit (@punitbansal14) August 7, 2021
Uwe Hohn is the only athlete to throw a javelin 100 metres or more, with his world record of 104.80 m
Image Credit: Wikipedia pic.twitter.com/XneqXpGhD9
However, it would be remiss not to mention another coach of Neeraj Chopra, Klaus Bartonietz, who came in after AFI decided that Chopra and Hohn will part ways, in keeping with the "preference of the athlete in mind".
Klaus Bartonietz is also from Germany and is a biomechanics expert.
Thank you "King Klaus" for making #NeerajChopara the New OLYMPIC CHAMPION— Athletics Federation of India (@afiindia) August 8, 2021
Here is what Neeraj Chopra's coach Dr. Klaus Bartonietz has to say to #India @Media_SAI @IndiaSports @Adille1 @KirenRijiju @Anurag_Office pic.twitter.com/eVwwSOEiFB
Dr. Klaus Bartonietz has done an amazing job guiding Neeraj to the finals. Dr. Klaus used to coach Boris Henry, who is Vetter coach. Neeraj trained for few months in 2017 in Germany, sharing training facilities with Vetter, both are good friends. @BrandNachiketa@jon_selvaraj pic.twitter.com/XsDkgwT1IL— Indian Javelin (@IndianJavelin) August 4, 2021
Tokyo Olympics: 'Feeling overwhelmed' says coach Klaus Bartonietz after Neeraj Chopra bags gold— ANI Digital (@ani_digital) August 8, 2021
Read @ANI Story | https://t.co/8nj1JYdzhj#Tokyo2020 #KlausBartonietz #NeerajChopra pic.twitter.com/HkIIFf4yOA
The credit here also goes to his first coach Jitender Jaglan, who trained him at the Shivaji Sports Stadium. Jitender has said that the first few months were all about getting Neeraj to a weight ideal for his sport and that his first throw was 25-meter-long.
He also said that Neeraj was always focused on winning an Olympic medal, it was always his dream.
With dedication and such able guidance, it's no surprise that Neeraj went on to do what he did. We couldn't be prouder.