Tokyo 2020 Olympics gold medal winner Neeraj Chopra is up for the 2022 Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award.
Chopra had made history when he became the first person from India to win an athletics gold medal in the Olympics.
He is also the country’s second athlete to win a gold medal in an individual event; shooter Abhinav Bindra was the first.
“I’m delighted to be nominated for this Laureus Award and it’s a great honour for me to be recognised in the wider sporting world for what I achieved in Tokyo,” he said.
“From being a kid in a small village in rural India who only took up sport to get fit, to standing on top of an Olympic podium, it’s been quite an eventful journey so far.
“I feel privileged to be able to represent my country and win India medals at the global stage, and now to have this recognition from Laureus and be considered alongside such exceptional athletes is a really special feeling.”
He also took to Twitter to show his joy at the fact that he is up for this award.
A special feeling to be nominated along with some exceptional athletes for the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year award.
— Neeraj Chopra (@Neeraj_chopra1) February 2, 2022
The winners will be known in April and this will be after a vote by the Laureus World Sports Academy.
But even if he does not win the award, Chopra is already in rarefied ground for an Indian sportsperson.
He is now only the third Indian to be up for one of these awards. Wrestler Vinesh Phogat got a nomination in the year 2019.
And Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar is the only to have won an award. He won the 2000-20 Sporting Moment Award.
He was given this award due to playing a key part in India’s 2011 ICC World Cup win. In fact, the moment in question is when the Indian players put him on their shoulders and made him take a round of the stadium.
Also in contention with Chopra for the Breakthrough Award are Emma Raducanu, Daniil Medvedev, Pedri, Yulimar Rojas and Ariarne Titmus.
Raducanu shocked the world when she won the US Open at the age of 18. And Medvedev won the men’s title at the same Grand Slam.
Pedri was voted the best young player at the Ballon d’Or this year. And Rojas broke the 26 year old triple jump world record.
And Titmus twice beat champion Katie Ledecky at the 200 and 400m in Tokyo.