On Sunday, German javelin star Johannes Vetter stepped up with the second best throw in history of the sport at the Conti Tour Gold meet in Poland. His throw of 97.76m, only behind Jan Zelezny’s 98.48m mark, is 9m more than Neeraj Chopra’s personal best. Does that mount added pressure on the young Indian?
Johannes Vetter. 97.76m 🚀
— Continental Tour Gold (@ContiTourGold) September 6, 2020
If all goes according to plan from here on, Tokyo Olympics 2021 is a little less than a year away and Indian athletes have been preparing hard amid the prevalent lockdown. As far as preparations go, while it’s important to keep one fit and ready, it’s also imperative that he or she is aware of the competition in their field — especially, if the said athlete is aiming for a medal.
Neeraj is India’s biggest hope for a medal in athletics at the Olympics. The youngster has long been coveted as one of the rising Olympic stars in the country. He further proved his credentials when, on return to competitive action after a gap of 16 months, Neeraj threw a massive throw of 87.86 metres at the Athletics Central North East Meeting. The effort saw him achieving the qualification mark for the Tokyo Olympics on his very first competitive meet since the Asian Games in Jakarta, 2018. Neeraj threw a distance of 88.06 m to win gold in the Men's javelin throw at the 2018 Asian Games and set a new Indian national record, bettering his own previous record. His personal best would have indeed won India a medal at the 2016 Olympics.
His comeback has no doubt boosted his confidence massively ahead of the run-up to the Tokyo 2021 games and he knows he is some way off the mark which will assure him an Olympic medal. In an interview with us, earlier this year, Neeraj had conceded that he needs to break the 90m barrier to have a shot at the Olympic medal.
“I can’t say anything about the Olympics medal. It depends on a particular day and at a particular time. My target is to achieve the 90-metre mark and hopefully, then I could get a podium finish at the Olympics,” he said.
One could argue though that even 90m might not be enough.