On Saturday, Indian athlete Neeraj Chopra created history by becoming the first Indian to win an Olympic gold medal in athletics after finishing first in the Javelin throw event. The spectacular performance by Neeraj Chopra that got him a gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics created a festive atmosphere across the country as proud Indians celebrated his win at the Olympics.
However, Neeraj’s victory did not bring cheer to a section of Indian “liberals”, who were quite agitated for the fact that the Olympic Gold Medalist was not only an avid supporter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi but also had defended the Modi government in the past.
To add salt to their injury, the old tweets of Neeraj Chopra, where he had congratulated Prime Minister Modi for his success in the 2019 election, surfaced, leaving the liberals red-faced. As expected, the liberals began to discredit Neeraj Chopra over his support for the current regime, and the angry liberals unleashed incendiary attacks on Neeraj Chopra by claiming that he was just another “Sanghi”.
Well, this did not stop there. The “liberals” stooped to yet another low during moments of national glory by dragging Neeraj Chopra’s disgruntled coach to not only discredit his gold medal but also to take potshots at the Modi government over its alleged ‘indifference’ towards sports.
On June 16, 2021, Indian Express had published an article in which it had claimed that India’s javelin coach Uwe Hohn had said that the country’s top sports organisations – Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Athletics Federation of India (AFI) “did not do enough” to prepare athletes for the mega event. This article was published a month before the start of the Tokyo Olympics.
Speaking to The Indian Express, the 58-year-old former German athlete Uwe Hohn, who is the former coach of Neeraj Chopra, had claimed that the training for the Olympics was “unplanned” and diet was not fit for elite athletes. He also alleged that he was “blackmailed” into signing a contract he was not happy with.
The “liberals”, who were quite incensed at Neeraj Chopra, had now something to get back at him. Citing Hohn’s statements, several liberals took to Twitter to claim that the Indian government did not have any role to play in Neeraj Chopra’s success but instead had created roadblocks for athletes inhibiting them from performing to their strengths.
Aam Aadmi Party leader Rahul Mehra, who was perhaps upset with Neeraj Chopra’s gold medal, directed his anger against “AndhBhakts”. Discrediting the efforts of the Modi government, Mehra claimed that he had revealed the ugly side of SAI, AFI and the Indian government and asked the “AndhBhakts” to read what Neeraj Chopra’s alleged coach had to say about appalling facilities and preparation.
Raju Parulekar, an abusive troll with a history of peddling fake news, shared the same Indian Express article to take a dig at PM Modi.
Vidya Venkat, a self-proclaimed researcher, said she was shocked to read about Neeraj Chopra’s German coach, who had claimed that the government did not even supply adequate nutritional supplements to athletes.
Gargi Rawat, news anchor at NDTV, too, cited the statements of the disgruntled coach to peddle a false narrative against the Modi government, SFI and AFI that they did not provide enough support to the Tokyo Olympics gold medalist.
It appears that the liberals have now latched on to an out-of-context statement put out by Uwe Hohn to declare that the Modi government had no role whatsoever in the success of Neeraj Chopra in the Tokyo Olympics. Ironically, the liberals continue to peddle the same lies even as Neeraj Chopra has himself clarified that he had got the required support he needed from the government.
Interestingly, a day after Indian Express had published a hit job against the Indian government, Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Athletics Federation of India (AFI), Neeraj Chopra had himself clarified that the government had supported him throughout his entire training.
In fact, Neeraj Chopra had thanked the Modi government for taking care of all his requirements ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. In addition, he had thanked the Indian government for its support during his training, especially in Europe, despite having tough visa rules.
Amusingly, even as Neeraj Chopra himself admits that he has received enough support from the government, the liberals are not yet mentally ready to accept that the Modi government had a substantial role to play in Neeraj Chopra’s recent success.
Was Uwe Hohn really the coach of Neeraj Chopra?
In fact, Uwe Hohn, who has now become some sort of hero for the liberals, did not even coach Neeraj Chopra ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. Uwe Hohn, who is now spreading conspiracy theories against the Indian government, no longer trains Neeraj Chopra, as the athlete had parted ways with his German coach over performance issues two years back.
After Neeraj Chopra missed the 2019 World Athletics Championship in Doha, where he had lost the opportunity to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, he decided to part ways with Uwe Hohn and started training under bio-mechanics expert Klaus Bartonietz.
Klaus Bartonietz is a biomechanics expert from Germany and has been working with the Olympic gold medallist since 2018. Bartonietz took sole charge of Neeraj Chopra in 2019 after the 23-year-old refused to work with Hohn. Chopra had trained under Bartonietz in Europe leading up to the Tokyo Olympics, with additional support from the JSW Sports.
With Neeraj Chopra parting away with Uwe Hohn, the German coach stayed back in the country to train other athletes like Shivpal Singh, Annu Rani, Rajender Singh, Rohit Yadav and also Sahil Silwal. During his tenure as India’s Javelin coach, Uwe Hohn has been embroiled in several controversies, including allegations of unnecessary dominations over athletes.
Ahead of the Olympics, athletes Shivpal Singh and Annu Rani, two of the country’s top javelin throwers, had accused Uwe Hohn of training foreign athletes when the Indian team travels abroad for exposure tours. Annu Rani had also said that the German coach had an overbearing nature.
“He (Hohn) also trains some other foreign athletes when we are overseas, ignoring us,” the duo had said in a joint statement. “It was in 2019 when we were training in Poland. He is more interested in training abroad due to certain reasons,” Shivpal and Annu had revealed.
Neeraj Chopra’s coach is Klaus Bartonietz. Chopra stopped training from Uwe Hohn 2yrs back.— Ankur (@iAnkurSingh) August 8, 2021
In fact, Shivpal Singh and Annu Rani had complained that Uwe Hown takes players to foreign country to train other athletes.
Hohn had problem with AFI as he wanted unreasonably high money https://t.co/OZYgfXF5Bq pic.twitter.com/1hSinQpK02
Annu Rani, who was training under Uwe Hohn, had decided against joining Hohn’s training sessions because of his working style.
“I have not trained with him due to his working style. I decided not to train under him early this year as he has an overbearing nature,” Annu Rani had said in June this year after Uwe Hohn had claimed that the Indian government was not actively supporting these athletes.
If one carefully sees the outburst of Indian athletes against Uwe Hohn, one can clearly say that Neeraj Chopra made a wise decision to part away with Uwe Hohn ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, which may have acted as a contributing factor in winning a historic gold medal in the event. However, while Neeraj Chopra went ahead with preparations with active support from the government, Shivpal and Annu, who were stuck with Uwe Hohn, could not perform as expected. Maybe, if Shivpal and Annu had parted ways with Uwe Hohn and sought training under a different coach, they too could have attained their glory at the Olympics.