London: In the absence of a coach, Indian javelin thrower Davinder Singh Kang was forced to take tips from a competitor "friend" from Sri Lanka during his qualification round at the World Championships here.
Kang became the first Indian to qualify for the javelin throw final round in the World Championships, while his more fancied compatriot Neeraj Chopra crashed out in the qualification round after a disappointing show.
Kang, carrying a right shoulder injury, was helped by Sri Lanka's Waruna Rankoth Pedige, who also participated in the same qualification round, and gave the Indian 'tips'.
It helped Kang in clearing the automatic qualification mark of 83 metres in his third and final throw, as he sent the iron spear to a distance of 84.22 metres in front of a packed crowd at the Olympic Stadium.
The Indian team has come here without a javelin coach for the three competitors – Kang, Neeraj and woman competitor Annu Rani.
Asked about the stretching exercise he did with the help of Pedige before his final throw, the 28-year-old from Punjab said, "He is my friend from Sri Lanka. I have competed with him in eight to 10 international competitions. I told him to give me some stretching of my shoulder. My right shoulder was a bit locked after my second throw. It was not rotating and he gave me some stretching.
"He (the Sri Lankan who finished 31st overall) is a very good friend of mine. He told me that my bodyweight was on the left side in the first two throws, which could be the reason (I was not throwing well). So I tried to keep my bodyweight on the right and had a very good throw in the third attempt, and I qualified. I said 'thank you' to him later," Kang told PTI.
Talking about his shoulder injury, he said, "It happened when I slipped on the track during the Indian Grand Prix event in May. It is a bit of a problem on and off. I competed in the Asian Championships in Bhubaneswar with a lot of tapping.
"Here also I competed in this qualifying round with a lot of tapping. Our team physio did this tappings and I got some benefit from it. I couldn't get rest after this injury in May.
"I competed in the Federation Cup in June and then told to appear for a trial in Patiala for Asian Championships and then took part in Asian Championships. I took part in the National Inter-State in Guntur also, where my shoulder was not in a good situation," he said.
Asked how he coped with the injury in his third and final throw last night, he said, "In my first two throws, as I run in I felt at the last moment (before releasing the spear) my bodyweight was towards the left since my right shoulder was locked. What I tried was go straight and locked it in one line so that I can go along one line and throw the other line."
Kang said he would give his best in the final on Saturday.
"I will get rest for more than 24 hours before my final round throw, will put some ice treatment and it should be all right. Will try 100 times harder to do something for India.
"I am feeling good that no Indian has reached the final round of a javelin throw event and I am the only one now. I have to do well for the country in the final round. I will give my best effort and want to win a medal for the country. I don't care whether this shoulder gets damaged in the process."
He felt bad for Neeraj who failed to come up with the automatic qualification mark, competing in Group 'A'.
"Neeraj should have also qualified and then there would have been two Indians in the final round. I am sure he must have tried his best but there is an element of luck and it must not have favoured him. We get motivation from him.
"Initially, I did not know that Neeraj has not qualified but after my second throw deputy chief national coach (Radhakrishnan Nair) told me that Neeraj could not get automatic qualification. After that I felt that I need to even try harder to qualify for the final round," Kang said.
Kang said a throw of above 86m is not beyond his reach as he had done it during practice.
"I have been practicing hard, weight training for the last one year. I have not gone home in this one year. I have thrown over 88m in practice. I have consistently thrown 84m, 85m and 86m during practice."
Kang said he spoke to former Javelin world record holder Uwe Hohn of Germany, who is joining the Indian national camp as a coach later this year.
"It has been 16 years doing javelin throw and in Patiala also I have been doing alone. We are having a German coach shortly, he is joining later this year. Two days back, I spoke to him and he gave tips to me but I cannot follow them as of now because it was a question of changing my technique.
"He is a good person. I feel good after speaking to him. I think I can do even better in future if his coaching works for me," said Kang.
Updated Date: Aug 11, 2017 21:09 PM