These are times of hope and excitement as far as Indian athletics is concerned with the World Athletics Championships 2023 happening in Budapest, Hungary.
The scintillating run of the Indian men's 4x400 relay team where they finished second behind USA in the first heat to qualify for the final coupled with Neeraj Chopra's expectant run to the final, where he is aiming for the elusive gold have been the highlights in this edition for India.
For long, India have been the perennial nobody as far as track and field is concerned. Since the time of Milkha Singh and PT Usha and down the line when Anju Bobby George claimed the World Championships bronze medallist, world class athletes representing India and making a mark at the world level have been few and far.
Also, none of the above mentioned athletes have been Olympic champions or even won World Championship gold medals.
The Neeraj Chopra Effect
And then comes a man who captures the nation's imagination and hearts with a historic and defining moment at the Tokyo Olympics.
What Neeraj did in Tokyo by clinching the javelin throw gold was tell the world that India has a say in world athletics and we are a power on the rise.
It was a statement of epic proportions and now he is on the verge of making another one and going where no other Indian has ever: clinching the World Championships gold.
If Neeraj executes his plan to perfection, it will further India's position as a country that has its own place in the pantheon of greats of world athletics.
Neeraj's achievements at the Olympics and now the World Championships, where he again stands on the cusp of history, are moments where millions of Indians are avidly watching on TV screens.
There are youngsters out there who are going to be awed and inspired by what the Haryana man is doing at the world stage and that is going to trickle down.
There will not be any dearth of youngsters wanting to take up athletics as a career or for that matter javelin throw as a discipline.
The fact that there are two more javelin throwers who are competing at the World Championships alongside Neeraj is a reflection of how the discipline is growing in its appeal with the super success of Neeraj.
Kishore Jena and DP Manu have a long way to go to reach the heights and get anywhere close to what Neeraj has achieved but they certainly have made a start.
4x400 Relay Team
The Indian men's 4x400 relay team's historic run to the final is truly unprecedented. To compete against the world-class Americans and almost beat them as Rajesh Ramesh did running the anchor leg makes for mind-boggling viewing.
The track events at world championships and Olympics are largely dominated by the American and Jamaicans. For an Indian team to reach the final and compete in the manner they did in the heat is absolutely commendable and inspiring.
There was also the small matter of them breaking the Asian record for 4x400 metres which was previously held by Japan.
This Indian relay quartet of Muhammed Anas Yahiya, Amoj Jacob, Muhammad Ajmal Variyathodi and Rajesh Ramesh have made everyone sit up and take notice of India's future potential in track events as well.
It's an indication that India does have potential to compete and win against the best in the world but they would need more exposure and support from the government, private sector etc.
It will take a concerted effort to make India a force in athletics but it is something the country will have to focus on considering we are looking to host the Olympics in the future.
And as is well known, athletics is the blue riband discipline of the Olympics and the platform where great Olympic nations make their presence well and truly felt.
This is a take off point but India will have to land at the right spot to ensure they come off age as a major sporting power globally.