India can soon take all three javelin medal spots like Germany: Neeraj Chopra
Speaking on the eve of the Athletics World Championships, Neeraj Chopra says he is trying to pass on the lessons he learnt in 2016-17 to the likes of Rohit Yadav.
Six men have thrown the javelin over 89 metres this year, but India's Neeraj Chopra - one of those six - is confident he will get the desired results at World Athletics Championships in Oregon if he can stick to his own game. Not just that, he also said there will soon be a day when three Indians will be good enough to take all the three medal spots in javelin at such global events.
Anderson Peters (93.07) and Jakub Vadlejch (90.88) have both gone beyond 89.94m - the new national record Neeraj set last month - while Oliver Helander (89.83), Julian Weber (89.54) and Keshorn Walcott (89.07) have crossed 89m in recent months. Peters and Walcott are also set to go up against Neeraj at the Commonwealth Games immediately after the Worlds. But even though Neeraj has been following all of them, his own consistency this year keeps him in good stead to beat them all.
Speaking a day ahead of reaching the World Championships venue, Neeraj said on Wednesday: "Because javelin is not a team game, it doesn't matter what the others do. I do keep track of the others but my game does not change because of what they do. Everyone has a different process. My coach focuses on my angle, my point of release. Expect the event to be interesting."
One of the things from which Neeraj said he is taking confidence from is the distance he has reached with the throws that were not his best. He was just six centimetres short of breaching the 90-mark in Stockholm last month, but even his other throws were in the winning range.
Passing on lessons from 2016-17
Saying that the Worlds, the CWG and the Diamond League final are the main events he has an eye on this year, Neeraj said the rise of javelin throwers like Rohit Yadav and DP Manu is a promising sign for Indian athletics. Currently training with Rohit, the other Indian javelin thrower who has qualified for the Worlds, Neeraj is trying to pass on the lessons he learnt some years ago.
"I've been telling Rohit to give his best in the qualifying rounds itself, that's something I learnt during the London World Championships (in 2017). I'm telling him not to worry about the distance he will reach, you never know how far your throw will go. I remember how my throw jumped from 82m to 86m in the Junior World Championships (in 2016)," Neeraj said.
"India might soon have multiple medals in javelin world events. DP Manu has been good too. Because of world rankings, he missed out on qualifying for the Worlds but it is good to see him going to the CWG2022. Like how Germany sometimes used to take all three medals, hopefully we can also get there someday," he said.
That dream may still be some way off, but the 24-year-old Neeraj Chopra will now seek to follow up on being India's first Olympic gold medallist by being India's first World Athletics Championships gold medallist when the event gets underway on July 15. Anju Bobby George, who won a bronze in 2004, remains the country's only medallist in the history of this event.