India’s ace javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra started the morning of the Indians with a blast as he qualified for the finals on his first throw which was 86.65m. But the young javelin thrower feels that he would need a similar performance with more distance to create history for India at the finals.
India has never won an Olympic medal in track and field. We have come close but we have never managed to bring it home. With Neeraj performing this way there are a lot of hopes pinned on the 23-year-old to do well in the finals and bring home an Olympics medal.
“I am at my first Olympic Games, and I feel very good. In warm-up, my performance was not so good, but then in the qualification round, my first throw had a good angle; it was a perfect throw,” Chopra said after his qualification round.
The young Indian is aware that the finals will be even more difficult for him as most of the javelin throwers will be keen to up their game aiming for a podium finish. “It will be a different feeling (in the finals) since it is my first time in the Olympics. Physically we train very hard and are ready but I also need to prepare mentally.”
“I will need to focus on the throw, and try to repeat this (performance0 with a higher score,” he added.
Chopra pointed out how the extreme hot weather of Japan made the difference for the javelin throwers. “I was wondering what the problem was when I saw Vetter, who’s a world-class thrower, struggling a bit,” said Neeraj.
Pleased with his throw Neeraj Chopra highlighted how his coach suggested him to have a follow through which turned out to be the game-changer for the 23-year-old. “My coach told me this morning that I need to have a follow-through on my throws. In warm-ups, my body was going sideways after throwing. That was diluting my power. That’s why my coach asked me to follow the angle of the javelin,” he said.
The young javelin thrower was seen with a new look where he had shorter hair than usual. Chopra explained how the Olympics made him cut his long locks.
“I had gone to Switzerland but did not compete because I felt I had not recovered well enough and did not want to take a risk before the Olympics. So, I went and got a haircut there. I still felt it was too long and cut my hair again in Sweden,” he said with a grin.
“I liked my long hair, and it will always grow back, but the Olympics will come again only three years later. Having longer hair meant I was sweating more, and it kept falling on my face. I had to focus more on my hair and how to manage it. I cut it off because I did not want my game to be affected by it.”