When India's first gold medallist from athletics Neeraj Chopra was quite literally getting mobbed at the Delhi airport and was busy attending VVIP felicitation functions and receiving uncountable messages of gratitude, in sharp contrast, two of his German coaches did follow all the action on their smartphones, courtesy social media.
Dr Klaus Bartonietz, India's golden boy's 73-year-old biomechanical expert, landed home after over a year. He first travelled by train and subsequently by road to reach Oberschlettenbach, a 130-resident remote village in southwest Germany. While he was finalising an appointment with his family doctor long overdue, Bartonietz could not believe what he was seeing with regards to the clips and videos of a security cordon around his disciple who had turned a superstar overnight.
"What is going on in India with Neeraj? It is crazy. I know it is a historic medal for India. I got some pictures and I saw the army (paramilitary) was called to protect him," Bartonietz was quoted as saying by The Indian Express from Oberschlettenbach.
Neeraj deserves all these honours: Uwe Hohn
Meanwhile, India's head javelin throw coach Uwe Hohn, who had landed in Rheinsberg, and was catching up with his family and friends while keeping an eye on the developments in India, slowly started to realise what Neeraj's gold medal meant for India.
"Yes, sure, Facebook is full of it," Hohn said in the same media report.
"At the moment it is a good time to celebrate Neeraj and his success. Neeraj deserves all these honours. I hope it will have an influence on all athletes in India and not just javelin throwers. I came to India knowing that the biggest talent in the world has no coach. I got Klaus to India. Klaus did a good job. In the past few months the technique improved to the level we liked to see," he added.
While Germany boasts of the greatest javelin thrower of its own in the current era in Johannes Vetter, the coaches who fine-tuned Neeraj's skill and helped him clinch the historic gold are getting recognition.
"Earlier there were no phone calls. Some of my neighbours watched him and they were impressed with how he turned (towards the coaching staff) and raised his hand (after the second throw) and was so confident that the javelin will go long," Bartonietz said.
"They are ordinary people and not sportspeople who are asking about Neeraj. Coaches I know, athletes all called too. They saw us on TV, it is funny how things change," he added.