Neeraj Chopra is one of India’s medal hopefuls in athletics in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. He qualified for the mega event at the Acne League meeting in South Africa in January 2020 with a throw of 87.86m.
He was not in the best of form and had spent time away from the field in 2019 as he was nursing an injury to his throwing arm but his performance in South Africa took everyone by surprise.
Since then the athlete has been working rigorously at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar to get prepared in the best way possible for the Olympics.
In 2021, he has set a couple of goals for himself and one of them is to break the 90m mark.
“I have set a target for myself for 2021 and I want to reach it step by step. My first target is to break my personal best (88.06m) and then will try to go past the 90m mark.” - Neeraj Chopra to New Indian Express
But due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the 23-year-old could not participate in any further competition which has dented his progress. But with the national camp in progress, he hopes to bounce back strongly.
“Because of the pandemic, I lost a year without full training and competitions. Thankfully, we at least were able to resume the national camp. My training is now progressing in a scientific manner. I am looking forward to 2021 and winning medals at the Olympics,” he hopes.
Chopra is among the most followed athletes in India and there are hopes on his young shoulders. Instead of feeling the pressure, he draws inspiration and confidence from the support that he receives.
“I feel honoured that the country has shown faith in me to win an Olympic medal. It is a big confidence booster for me,” he stated.
The 2018 Asian Games gold medalist feels that the Indian javelin contingent is one of the best in the world and is right up there with the European counterparts.
"Our current bunch is the best the country has produced. We are No.2 or No.3 in the world. We have challenged countries like Germany, Chinese Taipei and Czech Republic in different international meets."
He hailed the role of Sports Authority of India (SAI) and heaped praises on the body for supporting the athletes in an unprecedented manner. He also highlighted the Odisha state government for supporting sportspersons.
"With the support of the Sports Authority of India, sporting infrastructure, coaching and support given to athletes have changed a lot. Many corporate houses like JSW, Go Sports and a few others have come forward to sponsor us. It's a very positive development.
"Odisha (Government) came out in a very big way to support different sports. The infrastructure is of international standards and the hospitality is fabulous. Personally, I love the stadium as I set a new meet record during the 2017 Asian Championships. The state has been noticed by many in the fraternity for its unconditional love for sports," he said.
Chopra also hinted that wants to say a temporary goodbye to social media. He did the same during the 2018 Asian Games – an event which saw him clinch gold and set a new national record, bettering his own mark, in Jakarta.