German Johannes Vetter recently produced the second-best javelin throw in history, a quality performance Uwe Hohn reckons Neeraj Chopra should aim for.
Uwe Hohn, the only man to throw a javelin over the 100-metre mark, believes that India’s Neeraj Chopra needs to be at a “higher level” if he has to challenge for the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
The German’s assessment comes on the back of Johannes Vetter’s staggering feat on Sunday that saw him launch the spear 97.76 metres at the Continental Tour Gold event in Chorzow, Poland. The German’s throw was just 72 centimetres short of Jan Zelezny’s world record of 98.48m set in 1996.
Hohn’s throw of 104.80 metres in 1984 forced the world body to redesign the event to make it safer for everyone inside the stadium. Once the revamp was done, the records were reset.
"I don’t know if Vetter or (Olympic champion Thomas) Rohler can show that in Tokyo but I think Neeraj needs to be prepared to get at a similar level to fight for gold,” Uwe Hohn, who serves as India’s chief javelin coach, told Sportstar.
“But maybe you can win with 86.89m like in Doha (World Championships) last year.”
While javelin has undergone numerous aerodynamic changes over the years, the German great believes that eventually it still boils down to technique.
“Vetter showed that it is not only about throwing hard but it is important to put energy into the javelin so it stays stable,” Uwe Hohn was quoted by the Indian Express.
“The quality of the throw will be much better if energy goes straight into the javelin. It improves release speed and also the javelin does not lose so much speed,” added the German.
Vetter’s throw will serve as a massive wake-up call for the athletes across the globe, including the best in India.
Neeraj Chopra has a personal best of 88.06 metres, and the other Indian who has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, Shivpal Singh, has managed a personal mark of 86.23 metres.
But with time by their side, Uwe Hohn believed that the Indian duo could break into the 90 metre-plus club going ahead.
“At the moment with Neeraj, the aim is to slowly move him into the 91-92 metre mark. It will take time but it is possible. If you ask me about Shivpal’s potential, I believe he can also reach the 90-metre-plus mark.
“There is a lot of talent so things can move in a positive direction,” Hohn had said earlier in the year.