Neeraj Chopra is one of the Indian trailblazers at the Tokyo Olympics. He is one of the medal hopefuls at the Summer Games. He is currently in Europe to stay well prepared ahead of the big event.
The javelin thrower has participated in various tournaments across Europe which included events in Lisbon, Karlstad and Kuortane. The 23-year-old struck gold at the events in Lisbon and Karlstad. However, in Kuortane Games in Finland, he faced a stern test from German javelin thrower Johannes Vetter. The German athlete came up with a throw of 93.59m and clinched Gold, whereas Neeraj could manage a throw of 86.79m and had to be satisfied with Bronze. The tournament would have given the 23-year-old a lot of experience and assessment about the areas he need to improve.
Neeraj Chopra spoke about his experiences of that event to PTI. He said, “I had a new experience in Finland. During the run-up, I felt the real experience of a top-level competition, the kind of natural feeling which gives you the best performance comes after you take part in a lot of world class events. For me, that was the only time.”
While the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a huge challenge for sportspersons especially in their preparations. However, Neeraj is grateful to have valuable experiences in Europe.
“I did not get good international competitions when I wanted and there had to be several changes in training and competition schedule. But, I am in a positive frame of mind because a lot depends on the performance of the day. I am just hoping to give my best and realise my dream of winning a Gold for the country,” he remarked.
Neeraj has decided to pull out of the Diamond League event at Gateshead, England. The 23-year-old wants to take some rest and gather all his energy at the Summer Games. Also getting the UK visa was a concern for the javelin thrower amid COVID-19 times.
“Getting the UK visa (to take part at Gateshead) was difficult for Indians due to COVID-19 situation in India. So, I decided to miss the Diamond League. There is no time for competition now. I can have some intensity training for another week. After that, I will have light training,” he said.
The Olympics is right around the corner and Neeraj is fine tuning his skills for the Tokyo Olympics. He has identified his errors and is working on them as he hopes to bring a medal home for the country.
“The performance in Finland (Kuortane) was also not my best, there were technical issues, the height of the javelin was an issue. My javelin could not reach the venue that day and I could not use it. I had to use another javelin,” he stated.
“At the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games, the height of the javelin was an issue though I won gold in both. I am working on reducing the height of the javelin so that it can cover more distance,” he concluded.