In an exclusive chat with MyNation, Neeraj reflected on his journey so far this year, his training, technical shortcomings and how he is working to break the 90m barrier and the biggest goal – Olympics 2020 in Tokyo
New Delhi: After shattering his own national record to capture the men’s javelin throw gold at the Asian Games 2018 in Indonesia, India’s star athlete Neeraj Chopra has revealed his next target.
The 20-year-old Haryana boy has emerged as the nation’s athletics poster boy with his consistent performances. This year has been phenomenal for him, with gold medals in Commonwealth Games, Asiad and the national record (88.06m).
In an exclusive chat with MyNation, Neeraj reflected on his journey so far this year, his training, technical shortcomings and how he is working to break the 90m barrier and the biggest goal – Olympics 2020 in Tokyo.
Hailing from a small village called Khandra, Panipat, Neeraj set yet another example of the fruits of hard work and dedication regardless of one's social background.
“I am very happy. The two most important tournaments of this year, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games went well for me. I've won gold in both. This has boosted my confidence for next year's World Championships and the upcoming Olympics. I'm competing against athletes who will participate in the Olympics and World Championships. The training is going well and I believe something good will happen in the Olympics,” Neeraj told MyNation.
When asked about his experience at the recent Continental Cup, which is a one of its kind event where the team-mates are of different nationalities, Neeraj described it to be a really nice one, with fair competition.
Having had an impressive count of international medals to his name, he still remains to be level-headed, keen on learning as he advances.
He acknowledged the experience at the Continental Cup and felt it will help him in future events. Neeraj further elaborated on the different rules where four continents and two athletes each were selected after which the best thrower would go forward and the less performed athlete would be out.
“My two throws were 80m and 79m, but my third throw was very good. However it did not count. It was 85 plus but it went out of the area and the athlete (Chao-Tsun Cheng) from Chinese Taipei, who was in my team (Asia-Pacific), got a chance. After two throws, the best thrower will go to the next round and the best there will clinch the gold," Neeraj said.
Neeraj is now focused on making improvements for next year’s World Championships in Doha, Qatar. For that, he plans to train in Germany.
"Germany has the latest machinery and technology which is used for training and that is precisely why Germany is the 'power house' of Javelin." he said, adding that he was happy India was fast catching up with the European nation.
"Overall, India is at the third place. If one looks at the four best throwers from across all nations, India is third best which is a historical occurrence and I am hopeful that this will be better in future," a confident Neeraj added.
While he maintained that he would continue his training with Uwe John and would train in Patiala, the decision regarding training abroad still rests with his coach John.
On the question regarding changing his technique, he replied that he would not change his techniques but focus on improving the direction of the javelin instead.
When asked whether it demanded more effort from him to move from 88m to 92m, he stated, "It is easy to say that 88m can turn into 92m, but I know that it took a lot of effort to even reach 86m back in 2016 Junior World Championship and I could manage an increase of two metres after two years in 2018. But I feel that if I continue this streak, 90m is not unachievable."
Neeraj has set an example for many budding athletes who dream big. And for the boy himself, the biggest dream is Tokyo in two years time. Can he win an Olympic medal in 2020? A billion people will be praying for that.
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Last Updated Sep 19, 2018, 9:25 AM IST