Star Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra on his comeback to competitive action has bettered his own national record with an 88.07-metre throw at the Indian Grand Prix 3 in Patiala on Friday. His old record was 88.06 metres set at the Jakarta Asian Games.
Feels great (to break the national record again). Been out of competition since qualifying for Tokyo. Historically speaking, the competition is toughest in the javelin throw at the moment. Hope is to play more competitions this year and bring success at the Olympics, said Chopra after the event.
This was the 24-year-old’s competitive tournament since booking his berth for the Tokyo Olympics with a throw of 87.86 metre in January last year. He did not compete at the second leg of the Indian Grand Prix at Patiala’s National Institute of Sport on February 25.
“I feel good. I have been out of competition for quite a long time. I picked up an injury in 2019. I returned to action close to 15-16 months later in South Africa, where I threw 87.86m and qualified for the Olympics. This one has also come 13-14 months later. I hope I get to compete more and finally bring back an honour from the Olympics.
Chopra opened the competition with an effort of 83.03m before having two foul throws. After a fourth throw of 83.36m, Chopra sent the javelin to 88.07m amid loud cheers from a sizeable audience at the NIS Patiala. His final throw was 82.24m.
“The preparation was good. The wind was fast today. I don’t have too much experience in throwing with the wind. I am working on that and learning slowly,” he added.
“I was using another javelin in the beginning, which was my favourite. Its height was a bit better. But now, there’s a new javelin that Nordic Sports has developed, which works well in the wind if given a good release. I used that today in the fifth throw, and that was my best today. I didn’t feel like I had used too much of my power today, but it was a good throw. I am feeling good. Next time, my experience will be better, and I will learn to throw better.”
When asked about his expectations from the upcoming quadrennial games, he said, “Every athlete does their best preparing for the Olympics. Every athlete hopes to win a medal for their country as do I. I will give my 100% in training and in the Olympics. The rest depends on the day and the time of competition.”
Another Olympic-bound javelin thrower, Shivpal Singh of Uttar Pradesh, was second with a best throw of 81.63m while Sahil Silwal, representing Haryana, was third with a best effort of 80.65m.
The Tokyo Olympics qualification mark in men’s javelin is 85m.
(With PTI Inputs)