In a groundbreaking move aimed at enhancing the appeal and marketability of track and field in India, Olympic gold medalist Neeraj Chopra proposed the live telecast of international athletic competitions during the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) Innovation Lab’s Leaders Meet: India in Bengaluru on Wednesday.
Neeraj Chopra, India’s sole Olympic gold medalist in track and field, addressed a gathering of global sporting leaders, emphasizing the need to make athletics more accessible to Indian fans. He highlighted the challenges faced by enthusiasts who stay up late into the night only to be disappointed by the lack of live broadcasts of events such as the Diamond League, Continental Tours, and World Athletics Championships in India.
Expressing his views, Chopra stated, “Currently, we only get to watch the highlights. People want to watch the athletics, they stay up till 1-2 am in the night, and wait for the athlete to play but they face disappointment after not being able to watch.” He emphasized that broadcasting athletic events on television would not only enable more people to watch but also contribute to increasing awareness and understanding of the competitions.
The RCB Innovation Lab’s Leaders Meet: India is a pioneering initiative that brings together influential figures from the international sporting world to engage in dialogues and exchange innovative ideas. The event offers insights into the transformative elements shaping India’s sporting landscape and business innovation.
Neeraj Chopra, hailing from Haryana, has had a stellar year, clinching gold at the Asian Games 2022 and the World Athletics Championships 2023. With expectations high for him to replicate his Tokyo Olympic success at the upcoming Paris Olympics, Chopra spoke about the evolution of India’s sporting ecosystem. He emphasized that hosting international competitions in India could be a game-changer for athletics in the country.
Addressing the potential of India as a host, Neeraj Chopra said, “If countries like Kenya and Grenada can host international athletics competitions on a world-class level regularly, India also has the great capability to do the same.” He expressed hope that hosting competitive events in India would allow more people to witness championships in person and be inspired by the prowess of athletes.
Reflecting on his memorable moments, the 25-year-old athlete highlighted his junior world record throw at the World Junior Championships in Poland and the life-changing experience of the Tokyo Olympics.
Looking ahead to his training, Neeraj Chopra shared insights into his post-festival break preparations, stating, “My preparation will begin with removing the excess fat accumulated in the last few days.” He humorously mentioned indulging in traditional delicacies during the festival break and expressed confidence in getting back into peak training shape in 2-3 weeks.
The RCB Innovation Lab Leaders Meet: India, set to conclude on November 30, promises to provide a comprehensive view of the present and future of the sports industry in India. Neeraj Chopra’s advocacy for live telecasts of international athletic competitions aligns with the broader vision of propelling India into a new era of sporting excellence and increased global visibility.
Neeraj Chopra’s proposal serves as a crucial step towards fostering a deeper connection between Indian fans and the world of track and field, ultimately contributing to the growth and popularity of athletics in the country.