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Will put an end to 90m question this season: Neeraj Chopra

"I will put an end to the 90m question this season. People have been asking me this question since before the Tokyo Olympics," Neeraj Chopra said.

Neeraj Chopra Diamond League

Neeraj Chopra (Source- DiamondLeague/Twitter)


Abhijit Nair

Published: 16 April 2023 9:44 AM GMT

No interaction with the reigning Olympic javelin champion Neeraj Chopra is complete without the staple question regarding his inability to breach the elite 90m mark.

It was no different on Sunday morning, but this time the javelin thrower was at his humorous best.

“Iss baar 90m ka sawaal khatam hi kar dunga. Tokyo se nahi, 2018 Asian aur Commonwealth Games se puch rahe hai (I will put an end to the 90m question this season. People have been asking me this question since before the Tokyo Olympics),” Chopra let out with a laugh in a virtual press conference.

The 25-year-old had come ever so close to touching that magical mark at the 2022 Stockholm Diamond League last year but fell short by a mere 6 centimeters.

“Everyone has high expectations from me, they feel I can do it and hence keep pestering me about it. I am never irritated by this question,” opined Neeraj.

“For me, 90m is just a distance. The biggest objective for me in any competition is to handle the conditions, and weather and end up winning. My focus is on consistency. I am not saying 90m does not matter, but it is just a number,” he added.

Neeraj Chopra, who has been out of action since the Diamond League final last year, will return to active competition at the 2023 Doha Diamond League in May next month.

“The preparations are going very well for now. We worked on my strength during our camp in South Africa, and right now I am working on technical aspects in Turkey,” he said.

“There is still a long way to go to defend the Diamond League title. The Doha meeting is the first of the 13 competitions this season, there are just points on offer to qualify for the Diamond League finals. One good thing is that I am away from injuries at the moment,” he pointed out.

Neeraj did not compete at the Doha Diamond League last year and started his season only in June. The Khel Ratna awardee, however, mentioned that he is all set to start competing early this season.

“I was short of preparations during the Doha Diamond League last season, hence did not compete. It is not the same this time around. I am fit, doing well and things are coming along nicely in training,” he said.

The World Championship silver medallist remained secretive about the competitions he will appear in this season.

“It is a very long season with Asian Games and World Championships. We are going to pick and choose the events in which I will compete. I have just confirmed my participation at the Doha Diamond League so far,” Neeraj said.

“Last year I revealed everything, but then could not compete at a couple of events due to injuries. So I will reveal my plans, once I confirm my entries,” he quipped.

Neeraj Chopra also opened up about the injury he sustained at the World Championships last year and called it his biggest lesson. The injury had forced him out of the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games which followed just weeks later.

“I sensed that I have injured my groin in the fourth throw at the World Championships. I had spoken to my coach and physio straightaway that I might skip my final two attempts. But, the adrenaline of the competition meant that I went ahead with it,” he recalled.

“It was a lesson that I learned that I should be able to control myself when anything like this happens and not put my body at risk,” Neeraj added.

Neeraj eventually went on to win the silver medal at the World Championships behind Grenada’s Anderson Peters.

“I have won all the major titles, but not the World Championships. I would love to have that silver upgraded to gold but do not have any pressure of doing that,” he smiled.

Currently training at the Gloria Sports Arena in Turkey, Neeraj is not worried about his competitors and is just focused on himself.

“All the world’s top athletes come down to train in Turkey, not just track and field athletes, but there are a lot of swimmers here too. It feels good to train amongst such people. It is also easier to travel to Europe for competitions from here,” he said.

“I do not follow anyone’s training method as such. Everyone has a different body, and different ways of training. Apne se apna hi sambhal jaye vo accha hai (It would be good, if my body can handle my training),” Neeraj added.

With javelin and training taking up a major portion of his life, has Neeraj’s personal life taken a hit?

Not really, feels the man himself.

“I do not miss going weddings or parties as such. In fact, I started missing my training when I am away from it for a few days. On rest days we go on outings, because that is important as well,” Neeraj said.

“Yahi hai personal life. Ghar pe jab hota hu tab acche se family ke saath time bitata hu, phir sab bhul jata hu (This is my personal life. I spend quality time with family when I am home, and then forget about it when I get back to training),” he added.

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