Hard Work, Humility And Training: The Reason Behind Neeraj Chopra's Unprecedented Success

Hard Work, Humility And Training: The Reason Behind Neeraj Chopra's Unprecedented Success

The humility that Neeraj Chopra has despite having just clinched the World Athletics Championships gold that was eluding him for a while is palpable.

Haridev PushparajUpdated: Monday, August 28, 2023, 05:19 PM IST
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Khandra is a small, non-descript village in the Panipat district of Haryana but it's no longer non-descript.

It's where one can trace the genesis of who we can now easily call India's greatest track and field athlete: Neeraj Chopra.

An athlete who has conquered those peaks which no one representing India ever has.

Olympic champion: checked.

World Champion: checked.

Asian Champion: checked.

The humility that Chopra has despite having just clinched the World Athletics Championships gold that was eluding him for a while is palpable.

The Army man feels he is not the 'Greatest Of All Time' as far as the discipline of javelin throw is concerned and gives credit to world record holder Jan Zelezny.

Zelezny holds the world record having thrown 98.48 metres way back in 1996.

It's in Chopra's nature to play down his achievements but to just pause and absorb what he has done from an Indian perspective is interesting.

We are a country starved of Olympic champions and World champions and especially so in athletics and for Chopra to have garnered both these prestigious honours with a gap of two years between them makes it all the more special.

It's a tribute to his training regimen, dedication to fitness, discipline and following a strict diet regimen that has resulted in sparkling rewards at the international level.

Training & Fitness

In a country where gym training and fitness has now really caught on among the general public, Chopra's training and exercises will always be the cynosure.

In an article published on Olympics.com website, it mentions that there are a couple of exercises that are tailor-made for Neeraj Chopra.

"One of them involves him standing tall with his arms raised above his head, holding a weighted ball. Then he starts kneeling gradually and when he is inches from the ground, he will start bending backwards holding the heavy ball. The body arches back like a bow until the ball is just half an inch away from the ground."

Once his entire body weight is on his toes, he finally throws the ball like a catapult. It helps with both strength and flexibility - two essential components for javelin throwers.

The Olympic champion also lifts weights by bending his body backwards to open up his rotator cuffs and strengthen his back. "Dumbbell front and side raises further help him boost his shoulder strength. Lying oblique crunches and Swiss ball crunches increase core body strength. To improve his sprint speed, he does leg raises with a focus on the hamstring."

Most of Chopra's training drills have been devised by Klaus Bartonietz, his coach. And all the drills that he has been going through includes squats, snatch, weighted lunges and time circuits.

The Technique

A big part of Neeraj Chopra's technique is based on flexibility when it comes to throws. He is not so much of a power thrower unlike a lot of other javelin throwers. This helps him stay injury-free to a large extent as he ensures that his body is relaxed while he goes for throws.

Along with flexibility, what Chopra focuses on is his ankle strength and hip mobility that are of great help to javelin throwers when they are in the process breaking their run and planting their leading leg before releasing the spear.

Chopra's hip movement is very similar to the one that Zelezny, his idol, had during his active days. The World Champion has also added a Tabata workout, which is a high-intensity interval training that constitutes a circuit of 10 different exercises, to his regimen.

The champion javelin thrower has come through this rigourous regimen to emerge as the world-beater that he has become. It is something that aspiring sportspersons in India would do well to understand and emulate while aiming to bring laurels for the country.

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