Annu Rani confident of breaching Olympic qualification mark, calls for resumption of outdoor training

Annu Rani, the two-time Asian Championships medallist and current national record holder, listed her angle of release and the speed of her run-up as the key areas she would like to work on.

Shantanu Srivastava May 13, 2020 09:15:44 IST
Annu Rani confident of breaching Olympic qualification mark, calls for resumption of outdoor training

New Delhi: India's star javelin thrower Annu Rani is confident of achieving the Olympics qualification mark once sporting action resumes in the post COVID world. The 27-year-old is the current national record holder with a throw of 62.34 metres, while the qualification mark for Games stands at 64 metres.

Annu Rani confident of breaching Olympic qualification mark calls for resumption of outdoor training

File image of Annu Rani. Reuters

"Javelin is all about technique. Of course, power does matter, but I think I have enough strength to throw long. It is about fine-tuning the technique, and once that is done, I am confident of breaching the qualification mark. In this sport, you can make up 3-4 metres just by getting your technique right," Annu told Firstpost from Patiala where she is locked down in National Institute of Sports (NIS).

The two-time Asian Championships medallist listed her angle of release and the speed of her run-up as the key areas that she would like to work on.

"Many times, people don't understand that javelin is a very technical sport. It looked very easy to me as well when I started, but gradually I began to understand its complexities. There are a number of technical points that I am looking to work on. My angle of release tends to go high at times due to which I struggle to put all my power behind the throw. So, I need to get that right. Then, I need to work on the speed of my run-up. Once I sort out these issues, I am confident I can shave off the difference between me and the Olympic qualification mark."

With all outdoor activities suspended, Annu and the 50-odd national athletes at NIS are trying to maintain optimum fitness through weight and stability training. While bodyweight exercises are a go-to option, Annu also relies on the medicine ball to enhance her stability and build core strength. For shoulders and back, two major muscle groups involved in javelin throw, she relies on free weights and core workout.

"We have quite a few dumbbells here. There are medicine balls and also a small ground that we use for bodyweight training. Javelin requires full-body strength, from big muscle groups to smaller joints. I train my shoulders using weights while back is taken care of by some workouts on the medicine ball," she said.

The 2014 Asian Games bronze medallist, however, is not going full tilt in her training yet to prevent the risk of over-exhaustion once the season resumes. "Our coaches have advised us to take it easy and not over train, because once we get to full-fledged training, there will not be many rest days or breaks."

The clamour to reopen sports facilities for training has steadily grown over the past few days, and the likes of former badminton national coach Vimal Kumar have been quite vocal in this regard. Annu, too believes that athletes must be allowed to train outdoors if social distancing norms are adhered to in a contained environment.

"I think the government or the authorities must think in that direction. Here in NIS, no one moves out or comes in, and we step out of our rooms only to go to the mess. We are in isolation anyway and it is quite safe. We have most of the equipment here, there's a gym that we can use, and there are training grounds. That is enough to get us started," she said.

Life in lockdown involves long periods of inactivity, and Annu beats the boredom by watching her training and performance videos and analysing her technique. Then, there's YouTube to turn to. Her playlist includes training videos of the likes of football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and swimming legend Michael Phelps.

"I regularly watch videos of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Michael Phelps. Watching their training, discipline, and life stories is so inspiring. Then, I read a bit too. Athletes are used to train 5-6 hours each day, and to suddenly sit idle for most part of the day is quite frustrating, to be honest. It is tough, but we do not have a choice."

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