Tokyo Olympics 2020: Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra working on release and direction of throws
Six month ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra said his focus was currently on improving his strength and finessing his technique.
Neeraj Chopra could have been at the Rio Olympics five years ago. Had his throw of 86.48m, which won him a gold medal at the U20 World Championships besides setting the junior world record, come a few days earlier, it would have earned the 19-year-old a quota for his first Olympic Games.
One Olympic cycle later, the 23-year-old is one of the headliners of the Indian track and field contingent heading to the Tokyo Olympics.
“If the Olympics don’t happen this year, it will be hard to take,” Chopra told reporters during an online interaction on Saturday.
“In Rio, I missed the cut by a few days, and would have won a medal had I qualified. Even last year when I qualified for Tokyo Olympics I had a really good feeling about a medal. So if Olympics doesn’t happen this year, I would feel I lost out on chances to win two medals. It would be very sad.”
Neeraj was supposed to go to South Africa this year for a training camp, but the emergence of a new strain of coronavirus in the African nation put paid to those plans. Currently training at Bhubaneswar rather than at Patiala because of the cold in the Punjab state, Chopra said his focus was currently on improving his strength and finessing his technique.
“I have been working on my technique lately, rather than focussing on the distance of my throws. I have been throwing around 75m. There's still some time left to get into that competitive frame of mind,” said Chopra. “As time progresses, and as I reach close to our first competition of the season, I will get into that competitive mode, and try to throw as far as I can.
“Last year, you must have seen in the Continental Cup and Diamond League, my releases were going towards the left side, very close to landing out of the sector. In one of the events, I threw out of the sector also. So, I am working on my release and direction of throws. I am also working on minor things such as my blocking leg, which I feel is a little loose, so I been trying to improve on that as well. I would say, the training has been going great these days," he said.
Chopra said he is yet to prepare a competition schedule for the year, but will likely compete at the Federation Cup in March and a Diamond League event.
“As of now, athletics federation has scheduled Indian Grand Prix and Federation Cup in the calendar. Grand Prix will be held in February, and Federation Cup is scheduled in the second week of the March. Initially, I felt we will begin our season a little late this year, you see due to COVID-19 we can't go anywhere outside India to train, so we are yet to take a call on what competitions we should focus on.
"If I am prepared till the Federation Cup, I might take part in it, and make changes to our training plans accordingly. Then Diamond League will happen in May, so mostly we are focusing on that, and hopefully give our best in those events.”
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