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Bajrang backs Neeraj protest over ‘agenda’, says respect athletes, whether or not from Pak or elsewhere

“Whether the athlete is from Pakistan or any other country, he represents his nation. He is a sportsperson first. So it’s not like we’ll say something against that person because he is from Pakistan. There should be respect for athletes,” wrestler Bajrang, who gained the bronze medal within the 65kg weight class on the identical day that Chopra gained the javelin gold, advised The Indian Categorical.

Chopra was dragged into an argument after his remark in an interview, that Pakistani javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem was “moving around” along with his javelin through the Olympic remaining, had been twisted by folks with “vested interests”.

On Thursday, Chopra stated on Twitter: “I would request everyone to please not use me and my comments as a medium to further your vested interests and propaganda. Sports teaches us to be together and united. I’m extremely disappointed to see some of the reactions from the public on my recent comments.”

Nadeem stated the 2 throwers had been “very good friends”. He advised The Indian Categorical on Friday: “Neeraj bhai ne bilkul theek kaha hai. Hum dono bahut achchhe dost hain aur aisi cheezen nahin honi chahiye (Neeraj did the right thing. We are very good friends and such things should not happen).”

Chopra’s feedback obtained backing from the broader sporting fraternity in India.

Rio Olympics bronze medalist wrestler Sakshi Malik stated: “I completely don’t approve of athletes being dragged into controversies or being used for political reasons and to spread hate. And we are pulled into bizarre controversies. Like Neeraj has been very badly affected by what happened, and just thinking that a very small out-of-context remark blew up into such a massive controversy.”

“All kinds of weird questions are being asked and news channels turned a small normal act of the Pakistani javelin thrower using Neeraj’s javelin for one attempt,” Sakshi stated. “I’d urge fans to support Indian athletes and understand at same time that our on-field rivalries do not ever equate to off-field enmity. They are our friends and peers from the same sport. And no athlete will be comfortable to be used for hate against another nation.”

Desk tennis participant Sharath Kamal known as the incident “disturbing”.

“When we competed in the SAFF Games in 2004 in Islamabad, there was always police or army escort with us. It was always the same person, so we got talking, and both sides realised that what we are told is different from what the reality on the ground is. We’re all the same people,” Kamal, a four-time Olympian, advised this paper.

He added: “We went shopping and he came along with us, showing us which shop to go to, what are the good things to buy, and what are not. That’s when we realised how much hatred is fed to people around, which is unnecessary.”

Chopra and Nadeem, who completed fifth in Tokyo, share a cordial relationship exterior competitors. Even earlier than the ultimate, the duo sat subsequent to one another throughout their bus journey from the Athletes’ Village to the Nationwide Stadium, reliving outdated recollections.

Bajrang Punia Bajrang Punia in Tokyo 2020. (Photograph: AP)

Bajrang stated it was vital for folks to respect the spirit athletes share. “I haven’t seen Neeraj’s video, but sport teaches us how to remain united, instead of discriminating. When I meet wrestlers from Russia, USA, it’s always very cordial, it doesn’t feel like we are rivals; we are all like brothers. The competitive spirit is on the mat only,” Bajrang stated.

His views had been echoed by former India hockey captain Viren Rasquinha, who stated sports activities and politics shouldn’t be blended. “Whether I played against Pakistan or Australia or Germany… it’s all the same. It’s war on the ground, but I shake hands before the game and shake hands after the game. We don’t take anything outside the field,” Rasquinha stated.

“I’ve always believed that we should play sport in its purest form. Give everything for the country in the match that we’re representing, but let’s not mix (sports and politics),” he stated.

In the course of the Tokyo Olympics remaining, Chopra, earlier than his first throw, couldn’t discover his javelin earlier than realising it was with Arshad. He requested for it and sprinted to the beginning of his run-up. “I was searching for my javelin at the start of the final (in Olympics). I was not able to find it. Suddenly I saw Arshad Nadeem was moving around with my javelin. Then I told him ‘bhai give this javelin to me. It is my javelin. I have to throw with it’. That is why you must have seen I took my first throw hurriedly,” Chopra advised The Instances of India.

Tales run by a number of web sites, based mostly on this quote, and feedback on social media portrayed Nadeem because the dangerous man.

Discus thrower Kamalpreet Kaur, who completed sixth on the Tokyo Video games, known as Nadeem a “good person” who’s at all times “eager to learn”.

“When on the field, I can understand that players compete against each other. But once off the field, we all are good friends,” she stated. “Sport does not know any boundaries. Be it India, be it Pakistan, sports should be seen in the right spirit.”

With Shahid Decide and Shivani Naik

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