Want to hit the 90-metre mark this season, says India's star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra

Ronald ChettiarUpdated: Saturday, May 21, 2022, 08:23 PM IST
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India’s Olympic gold medal-winning javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra wants to join the 90-metre club this year but is not in a hurry.

The 25-year-old athlete from Haryana, who got India’s first gold in athletics at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Is currently training at Gloria Sports Arena in Antalya, Turkey.

Neeraj, who will participate in his first competition of the season in Turku, Finland at the Paavo Nurmi Games where he will face Grenadian javelin thrower Anderson Peters, another top thrower Johannes Vetter of Germany, who has thrown over 90m several times. But India’s star said he has no pressure to touch the 90m-mark.

"I'm targeting the 90m-mark, but that is not an immediate goal. But I want to touch 90m this season. In the upcoming competitions, I want to hit the 88m-mark so that I can judge my fitness according to it. I won’t be under any pressure about the distance, but will try to learn from my results. Peters and [Czech javelin thrower Jakub] Valdech must be working hard and doing well. It is also my dream to cross 90m and will try to do that this year in some competition," Chopra said during a virtual interaction.

"I know the competition is tough and growing. It also depends on the day's performance, weather and other conditions, how we manage them. I normally don't think about surpassing anybody's performance or record. I just go out to give my best."

His next event will be at the Kuortane Games in Finland [be on June 18] where he finished third last year with Vetter taking the gold before the Tokyo Olympics. But his main focus is the World Championships in Eugene, USA from July 15-24.

"My main target this year is to do well in the World Championships. Then there is the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham (July 28 to August 8) where I will defend my gold (won in 2018 CWG)," Chopra said.

When asked how he feels to be called India’s poster boy, Neeraj said he’ll be happier when his achievement inspires other athletes.

“Don’t know about the names people keep, but I consider myself fortunate that I could do it for my country. Everyone works hard, but God chose me to achieve and it makes me proud that I could fulfil the dream of millions of Indians. But I’ll be more happy when we win a lot of Olympic medals,” Chopra explained.

Two top Indian athletes failed dope tests recently and Chopra urged the youngsters to shun shortcuts to success.

"My message is don't take shortcuts to success. Work hard with patience. You will achieve your dream with time. I am not talking about any individual but you can take care of things you can control like having good food, proper rest and sleep, hard work and self-belief," Chopra concluded.

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