The mother of an Indian Olympic gold medalist is garnering widespread admiration for her heartwarming message about her son's victory over a Pakistani athlete at the World Athletics Championships 2023 in Budapest.
Historic victory: Neeraj Chopra, considered by many to be India's "greatest athlete of all time," secured the gold medal at the men's javelin throw on Sunday after achieving a throw of 88.17 meters, beating Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem, who finished second with an 87.82-meter throw. Chopra's historic triumph marked a monumental moment for India, as he became the first Indian gold medalist at the championships.
Nadeem’s victory is also remarkable, marking Pakistan's first-ever medal in the history of the event.
Both victories come amid growing tensions between India and Pakistan, with both nations engaging in diplomatic discussions aimed at easing the situation and ensuring stability in the region. The conflict originated from the 1947 partition of British India, which established a Muslim-majority Pakistan and a Hindu-majority India.
A mother’s perspective: Following the match, Chopra’s mother, Saroj Devi, was asked by a reporter to comment on her son's victory over a Pakistani opponent. In the video interview, which has since gone viral, she states, "A player is a player, it doesn’t matter where he comes from, I am glad that the Pakistani player (Arshad Nadeem) won as well."
A reporter asked #NeerajChopra 's mother about how she feels about Neeraj defeating a Pakistani athlete to win gold.
His mother said : A player is a player, it doesn't matter where he comes from, I am glad that the Pakistani player ( Arshad Nadeem) won as well.
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This whole… pic.twitter.com/imk3ZHyLrC
— Roshan Rai (@RoshanKrRaii) August 28, 2023
Winning hearts online: Netizens expressed their admiration for Devi's perspective, with many praising her sportsmanship despite the historic India-Pakistan rivalry.
"With a mom like that, it’s no wonder he turned out to be such a champion," an X user commented.
"Reporter came to sell hate.. Neera Chopra's mother sold love," one commenter wrote.
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"Question was in bad taste…her answer is a gem…we need many more like her," another chimed in.
Devi's sentiment was echoed by Nadeem himself, who emphasized the healthy competition and mutual respect between him and Chopra. “So happy for Neeraj bhai! India and Pakistan are one and two in the world. Inshallah, we will be 1 and 2 at the Olympics,” Nadeem was quoted as saying after the match.