Udayavni Special

Training is fine but I need competitions before Olympics: Neeraj Chopra

Team Udayavani, May 12, 2021, 1:33 PM IST

New Delhi: The training has gone along just fine but Olympic-bound star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra on Wednesday said he is desperate for some competition ahead of the Tokyo Games given that two years have simply been ”wasted” because of injury and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 23-year-old, who is being seen as a strong medal hope in Tokyo, said he has been coordinating with the Sports Authority of India to get some competition exposure.

”I am trying to give my 100 per cent in training and have been training as I used to do before. The focus on training is good and it is happening well. But I am in need of competitions and we are trying for it,” he said in a virtual interaction, arranged by SAI and Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS).

”I have spoken to TOPS and SAI and they are also trying their best from their end if anything can happen and I can get competitions. Because, it has been over two years that I haven’t played international competitions.

”I feel that I need that thing. Due to injury in 2019 got wasted and 2020 and 2021 have been wasted due to COVID-19,” he elaborated.

During the interaction, Chopra’s emphasised on competition, saying that training alone is not enough to fetch good performances at the big stage.

”…if we don’t play competitions, then what is the use of the training. We are training from last year, but we need international competitions. If we are thinking about the Olympic level, then we also need to compete with those athletes.

”I don’t have an experience of playing in the Olympics, this will be my first time,” he said, adding that the COVID-19 threat is there for everyone.

Chopra said despite the negative environment created by the pandemic, he is keeping himself ”positive”.

”…for every athlete it is becoming difficult. Along with the training, athletes are not getting competitions. I consider myself lucky that I played in a competition and qualified for the Olympics.

”COVID-19 has spread in our country and at the same time, we have to be positive and prepare for the Olympics. On (the other) side, a negative environment has been created in the country.

”It is becoming difficult, but we are trying to keep the focus, work hard, and help others. We have to continue with our sport and keep training. We still don’t know whether the Olympics will happen or not, but we are training well,” he said.

Chopra, who had smashed his own national record with a throw of 88.07m during the third Indian Grand Prix in March, also said the way his preparations have been going, ”he is very close” to the 90-metre mark.

”I am ready (and confident) that I will cross the 90-metre mark this year,” he said.

The star also revealed that he has taken the first jab of the COVID-19 vaccine and nobody in his family is affected due to the virus.

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