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Hope to breach 90m mark this year: Neeraj Chopra
1/7/2023 10:56:16 PM
NEW DELHI, Jan 7: His athleticism has left even the iconic Michael Johnson in awe recently and India's Neeraj Chopra has now set himself a target in the new year, which is to breach the 90-metre mark with his javelin.
After the historic gold in Tokyo, the 24-year-old Olympic champion javelin thrower has continued to raise expectations with a silver at the World Championships, before adding another feather in his cap by winning the Diamond League Finals gold.
However, despite his superlative shows, the magical 90m mark continues to elude him.
"In this new year, I hope I will put an end to this question," Chopra told reporters in a video interaction from England where he's doing off-season training.
He came agonisingly close with his 89.94m throw when he finished second in the Stockholm leg of the prestigious Diamond League.
In hindsight, Chopra thinks he could have achieved the mark in Stockholm.
"I could have done that if I landed my foot a few centimetres ahead." "Yes, it's just a matter of six centimeters-but a magical mark for an athlete. Whenever you talk about a top athlete we all say like this he's done 90m.
"But I'm not bothered about the pressure of expectations. It will happen when it has to. It could have happened last year or the year before, but maybe God has kept a perfect time and place for that." He's not bogged down by the pressure of expectations and said he always took them positively.
"I don't think much about the expectations. Yes, you have to handle both your own and others' expectations. But when I'm competing, my mind goes blank.
"It's about giving it your all, your 100 percent thinking that you have prepared for just this day. And somewhere these expectations from the people who love me play a positive part." The penultimate year before the Paris Olympics has a host of important events lined up, including the rescheduled Asian Games in Hangzhou, and Chopra said they are yet to take a call on when to start preparations.
"Basically, I've got three big events this year-the World Championships, Asian Games and the Diamond League Final.
"About when to start, I have not thought about it. I will plan with the coach assessing the situation in China. If it happens as per schedule in October, we may start the season a bit late so that we can stretch it till the Asian Games." Keeping that in mind, Chopra is just focused on strength building exercises in the indoor training in England and when they shift their training base to South Africa he would switch to javelin throws.
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