In the final overs of the T20 World Cup in Barbados, India and South Africa were engaged in a tense battle, while thousands of miles away in Germany, Neeraj Chopra, the renowned javelin thrower and India's sole Olympic and World Championships gold medalist in track and field, was intently following the match. Neeraj is currently in Germany, training for the upcoming Paris Games, where he aims to become the fourth man ever to defend his Olympic javelin title. Despite his preparations, Neeraj was fixated on the television, cheering for India as they managed to hold their composure in the last four overs, overcoming the South African challenge and securing a thrilling victory by seven runs. Neeraj expressed his hope that the Indian cricket team's World Cup triumph would inspire him to create more Olympic history in Paris.

“Whenever India achieves something significant in sports, be it cricket, athletics, badminton, or wrestling, there’s always an incredible feeling, a strong positive vibe,” Neeraj shared with the Khaleej Times from Germany in an exclusive interview. “I was extremely happy yesterday, watching the entire match here in Germany. It provided me with a fantastic positive boost just before the Olympics. I hope everything goes well, and I am putting in a lot of effort here in Germany.” The 26-year-old also praised Rohit Sharma’s team for their composure under pressure, especially when South Africa, chasing 177, required only 26 runs off 24 balls with six wickets remaining.

“The match had numerous twists and turns; at one point, it seemed India might not win,” he noted. “However, they handled the pressure exceptionally well in that critical moment, which I believe was the turning point. This is what distinguishes good athletes from great ones and good teams from great teams. It’s all about managing pressure, and the Indian team did that superbly yesterday.” Neeraj also expressed gratitude to Rohit and Virat Kohli, who announced their T20I retirements following the final, and Rahul Dravid, who concluded his tenure as India’s head coach with a World Cup victory.

“Both Rohit and Kohli have done extraordinary things for cricket and the country; they are on a different level,” he remarked. “But every athlete faces the reality of retirement someday. What’s crucial for us is to remember their achievements and contributions, which have inspired many young people in India. I believe their hard work and accomplishments will continue to inspire future generations.” Neeraj also highlighted Dravid’s role as a great role model in India, both as a player and now as a coach who led the team to a World Cup win. “As Indians, we can’t thank these three individuals enough for their invaluable contributions.”