India’s Tokyo Olympics medal winners Neeraj Chopra, Bajrang Punia, Ravi Dahiya and the Indian men’s hockey team, represented by PR Sreejesh, Mirabai Chanu, Lovlina Borgohain and PV Sindhu, were felicitated at the JSW Inspire Institute of Sport (IIS) in Bellary.
The JSW Group’s chairman and managing director Sajjan Jindal and Parth Jindal, the founder and director of the IIS, led the felicitations to celebrate the efforts of all medal winners. The athletes from IIS who had made the cut for the Tokyo Olympics, coaches and the non-coaching support were also recognized.
Eight athletes - Sreeshankar Murali (Long jump), Sushila Devi (Judo), Vikas Krishan Yadav (Boxing), Satish Kumar (Boxing), Ashish Kumar (Boxing), Annu Rani (Javelin throw), Avinash Sable (3000m steeplechase) and Seema Bisla (wrestling) – were also felicitated for qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics.
While Neeraj Chopra, Bajrang Punia, Ravi Dahiya and PR Sreejesh were in attendance, Mirabai Chanu (silver, weightlifting), Lovlina Borgohain (bronze, boxing) and PV Sindhu bronze, badminton) couldn’t make the event, but had their awards announced.
The JSW Sports management also felicitated Neeraj Chopra and Bajrang Punia's coaches at the IIS, as they had a tremendous impact on both the athletes' performances at the Tokyo Olympics.
Honing skills of Tokyo Olympics' medal winners
Neeraj Chopra, who won the gold medal in the javelin throw at the Tokyo Olympics, said the IIS is like home for the athlete as he spent time recovering at the institute after his injury. The Tokyo Olympics gold medallist praised the infrastructure and the facilities at the IIS. He said:
“I am always very happy to be here at IIS because, for me, this feels like home. This is where I have spent time recovering from my injury not long ago and worked hard to reach the level that was needed for me to bring home the Olympic Gold. The facilities here are fantastic and the care you get is second to none. You also get motivated by watching others train alongside you, and I am sure my Gold medal is just the start of global success that athletes from here are bound to achieve.”
Speaking during a panel discussion, Parth Jindal said the main motive for establishing the IIS was to concentrate on grassroots. He also offered any athlete representing India, space to train and use the facilities of the IIS. He said:
“While the government has a National Institute of Sport in Patiala and SAI centers all over the country, there was nothing at the grassroots level and that’s a big reason why IIS was established. We wanted to build a High-Performance Center that will inspire many other corporates to also step in and raise the standards in the country. "
As an institute, we always work towards ensuring that the athletes peak at the Olympics - you have to do your personal best at the Olympic Games - and that’s the vision for all of us who are in the business of sport. We wish all the athletes the best for Paris 2024 and beyond. The doors of the IIS will always be open to every athlete representing India, at no cost,” he added.