Tokyo-bound Neeraj Chopra, Shivpal Singh start training in Bhubaneswar

The month-long national camp which got underway from Friday at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar features five javelin throwers.

By Utathya Nag ·

Five elite Indian javelin throwers, including Tokyo Olympics-bound Neeraj Chopra and Shivpal Singh, have begun a month-long training camp at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, from Friday.

Apart from Neeraj and Shivpal, India’s U-18 national record holder Rohit Yadav, Rajinder Singh and 2014 Asian Games bronze medallist Annu Rani are a part of the camp.

Rani is the only women’s javelin thrower in the group and holds the women’s national record. The five athletes will train under coaches Uwe Hohn and Dr Klaus Bartonietz until the end of the month.

The group was previously training at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) Patiala campus in Punjab. But with the winter chill descending on the North Indian city, shift of base to a comparatively warmer weather in Odisha was deemed adequate.

“We are here for the training for Olympics 2021. With our best efforts we are hoping to do well at the Olympics,” Neeraj Chopra said about the camp.

For Chopra, who punched his tickets to Tokyo after breaching the qualification mark of 85m at an Athletics Central North East (ACNE) meet in South Africa in January, the Kalinga Stadium holds a special place.

He won the gold medal at the 2017 Asian Athletic Championships – his first major international medal – at the same venue.

“In the 2017 Asian Championships, I won gold here and have fond memories of the city,” the 22-year-old Chopra noted.

Like Chopra, Shivpal Singh clinched his spot for Tokyo at an athletics meet in South Africa. He threw a 85.47m at an Athletics Central North East (ACNW) League Meeting in Potchefstroom back in March.

Shivpal was a silver medallist at the 2019 Asian Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar.

The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) said that a detailed Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has been put in place for the camp, with the athletes’ safety a priority amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The SOP has laid down numerous COVID-19 protocols and guidelines in an exhaustive manner.