The Sirsi force behind the Golden Boy’s 87.58-m throw

A native of Sirsi, Naik Subedar Kashinath Naik trained the Golden Boy at the Netaji Subhash National Institute of Sports in Patiala between 2015 and 2017.

Published: 09th August 2021 05:25 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th August 2021 03:15 PM   |  A+A-

Neeraj Chopra

Gold medalist Neeraj Chopra, of India, poses during the medal ceremony for the men's javelin throw at the 2020 Summer Olympics. (Photo | AP)

Express News Service

HUBBALLI:  When Neeraj Chopra scripted history by becoming the first Indian track and field athlete to win gold in javelin at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Saturday, Kashinath Naik--- one of his formative year coaches--- was all over the moon.  

A native of Sirsi, Naik Subedar Kashinath Naik trained the Golden Boy at the Netaji Subhash National Institute of Sports in Patiala between 2015 and 2017.  “I was so excited that I could not sleep the entire night,” Naik, a bronze medalist in javelin at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, told TNIE after Neeraj got India its first and only gold at the Tokyo Olympic Games after throwing a distance of 87.58m in his second attempt in the men’s javelin throw. Currently, Naik serves at the Army Sports Institute in Pune.

Kashinath Naik (left) with Neeraj Chopra

“I am so happy. Neeraj has been associated with me for more than five years now. I was instrumental in him joining the Army as a sportsperson. He changed several coaches after he left Netaji Subhash National Institute of Sports in Patiala. Also, Neeraj was in touch with me during his training, his injury and recovery period,” a beaming Naik said.

Naik said he passed on the weak points of Neeraj to his successive coaches. “Sometimes, when you try to force yourself for better results, you might fail. On Saturday, we saw a couple of fouls by Neeraj. In an attempt to throw further, one might mess with the rules of the sport. Hence, technique becomes the most important aspect of javelin and Neeraj has mastered it,” he said.

Naik started to coach budding javelin throwers in 2012 and in 2013, became the Indian national coach. He continued to hold the post till 2018 after which he has been coaching military sportsmen. He joined the Army soon after the Kargil operation in 1999. He recognised the talent in Neeraj wayback in 2016 when the Olympian was just 18. “Neeraj has a great future... It is a moment of pride for every Indian. The medal will give a big boost to athletics in India,” Naik added.

Karnataka govt announces Rs 10L reward for Naik
The State Government announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh to Naik. "An achiever himself, Kashinath trained Chopra to win the gold and make the nation proud. In view of his achievement, the government announces the cash reward of Rs 10 lakh for the coach," Sports and Youth Empowerment Minister K C Narayanagowda said. Reacting to the honour, Naik told TNIE that he was very thankful to CM Basavaraj Bommai and the Karnataka Sports Minister. "As a coach, many of my students have won medals in several events, including Asian Games. But this is the first time that I am receiving such kind of recognition. My request is that whenever governments gives an award to an athlete, they should consider their coaches too... it will motivate the coaches," he added.  



Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp