Currently ranked number one in Asia and 4th in the world in the under-18 boys’ 'Javelin Throw category', the Javelin thrower Arjun is not just making his school but the whole country proud.
After winning the silver medal at the Asian Youth Athletics Championship 2023 in Uzbekistan in April, Arjun's voice speaks with a slight distinct gratification that can be sensed when talking to him, as Local Samosa did in a recent interview. Another reason could be the fact that the 16-year-old had fallen sick before playing the finals and was skeptical about his own performance due to his health. On the other hand, winning the medal in the Javelin Throw under-18 boys category is surely not enough for him, as he is determined to set the bar for the country's performance in Javelin Throw very high by continuing to represent India and winning even in the future.
The recent few years have been phenomenal for the Indian sports fraternity, with various golds and silvers coming their way in various sports. Javelin Throw, in particular, came into the limelight after Neeraj Chopra won India's first gold at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. And the trail of wins shows no signs of stopping, especially with young athletes like Arjun on the rise. Arjun holds a personal best of 72.93 meters in the U-18 Boys Javelin Throw category and is determined to pursue a career solely focused on this sport. He states, 'It is my dream to continue playing Javelin Throw exclusively, and I don't have any backup plan for my life.
The beginning and preparations
Arjun, a student of Modern Public School in Shalimar Bagh, Delhi, developed an interest in Javelin throwing during his childhood, inspired by his father who was also a state-level player. Over time, this interest evolved into a passion, and after winning inter-state games and championships, Arjun achieved the top rank in Asia and fourth in the world in the under-18 boys' javelin throw category.
All this while, what has been a great support for Arjun and his passion is the contribution of his school in helping him realize his goals. As Arjun explains, he is often allowed to take tests after his sports commitments and practice, and he can attend extra classes conducted by teachers through video meeting applications outside of regular class hours. Talking about the facilities in the school, Sapna Charha, the headmistress of the school, says, "We teachers are always ready to provide support to the students who are doing good in sports by giving them extra classes and don't hesitate in providing support from our end."
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Having said that, even Arjun, currently in Std. 12, takes full advantage of the opportunities provided by the school and practices on the school grounds as well as in stadiums to maintain a strong training regimen. In terms of fitness, Arjun ensures he gives exclusive focus to maintaining his physical strength through a restricted diet and regular workouts, which also contribute to his readiness for practice. "We give the example of Arjun and his achievements to other students and ask them to be as disciplined as Arjun has always been. It is a moment of pride for us to see Arjun giving autographs to other students," the headmistress says.
Series of wins
Due to his tight schedules and dedicated efforts, Arjun has achieved numerous feats and set records. These include winning a Bronze medal in the Khelo India Youth Games 2022 in Bhopal, a Silver medal in the National Junior Athletics Championship 2022 in Guwahati, a Gold medal in the 17th National Youth Athletics Championship 2023 in Bhopal, and a Silver medal at the Asian U-18 Athletics Championship 2022 held in Kuwait. Additionally, Arjun was honored by Himanshu Gupta, the Delhi State Director of Education, and Sanjay Ambasta, the then Deputy Director of Education (Sports), after winning the silver medal at the 4th Asian U-18 Athletics Championship 2022
Just this year, in March, Arjun won a gold medal at the 18th National Youth Athletics Championship 2023 held in Udupi, Karnataka. Following that, he participated in the 5th Asian U-18 Athletics Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in April, where he secured a silver medal. Arjun's exceptional efforts and talent in the international arena also led Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd to provide him with a monthly stipend of Rs 15,000. But how does he utilize the money? 'I use it to purchase sports equipment and medicine,' he says.
Arjun, who idolizes Johannes Vetter, a German Javelin Thrower, and Neeraj Chopra, also aspires to follow their paths and win gold for India. "Just like Neeraj Chopra Sir, I also want to bring gold for my country," he says.