Neeraj Chopra denied that he missed the competition in the last five months, even though the rest of the world continued to play sports.
For someone who ended a 74-year drought for India’s first independent athletic Olympic medal – no less gold – Neeraj Chopra has a refreshing base. He is also absolutely clear in his focus, goals and path ahead. What he is not is happy with his success in Tokyo.
“I have always talked about crossing the 90-meter limit and I will focus on that. This is a very important goal, because getting a medal is one thing, but managing a good distance is quite another. Olympic gold is, of course, very important, it was a dream not only for me, but for the whole nation. But 90 m is an important obstacle. The best in the world have it, and it’s important that I personally consider myself a true world-class pitcher, ”Neeraj told a select group of reporters from his current training base in Chula Vista, San Diego.
Bringing Olympic gold to perspective is a sign of the sporting maturity Neeraj has always shown, even as a young man. But the 24-year-old, who excelled in his composure and smooth rhythm on August 7, 2021, when he engraved his name in Indian sports history books, unaware that this was his first ever Olympic trip, admitted that the importance of the stage would not let it affect his performance.
“I can’t say about the others, but I was personally very calm at the Olympics. Everyone says it’s a big deal and I felt pressure from it, but somewhere deep inside I focused more on my own performance and performed according to my training without bothering about anything else. 90 m is the goal, but it’s not an obsession. I will continue to train as I always have. It can also be 89.99 m or 90.1 m. I am also very different in the competition and beyond. Off my track, even my best efforts may not be good enough. But when I compete, I’m completely different – my body and mind react completely differently and I think it helps me, “he explained.
After spending more of his fitness and weight over the last three weeks than throwing, the 24-year-old Olympic gold medalist has lost weight, returned to his rhythm and enjoys the “simple life of an athlete” in the company of coach Klaus Bartoniez. and physio Ishan. “At first it was very difficult, because I gained 12-13 kg and I did not train at all. When I went to the track, I tried to train as before, but my body ached and everything cost a lot of effort, both physically and mentally.
“I wake up, have breakfast and train for 2.5 hours, have lunch and rest, train at 4:30 for about three hours, then have dinner and sleep. It’s great to go back to normal training, “he smiled and admitted that life in India after Tokyo was quite an experience. “The weather is good here and we can focus on training and put full commitment into our program. It was very cold at home in Patiale and moreover it is the wedding season and everyone wants to invite you and you can’t refuse, “he grinned.
He denied that he had missed a competition in the last five months, even though the rest of the world continued to play sports. “I did not have a European visa, I missed training and I also felt sick. It didn’t make sense to rush back to the event just because of the participation and also the risk of injury, so we decided to focus on next year, “he explained.
Nevertheless, Neeraj realizes that he is now more than just an athlete at home. “I’m the same person, but suddenly there are too many new things around. But I made sure I was involved in everything I did. Yes, there were thoughts when I could go back to normal training. But I also believe that people come to me out of love because I have won and it is my duty to be just as good with them. Respect is a two-way street not only in sports, but in life in general, “he smiled.
However, he had a demand for the general public and a proposal for powers. “Elite athletes feel they need more competition, especially international ones. But they are not the only athletes in the country. Even the upcoming should gain more international exposure and experience, only then will they gain the confidence to perform at the top level and get used to competing with the best in the world. At the same time, we must understand that sometimes an athlete may perform poorly, but we need to support him at that moment, then he needs even more motivation to return. We must appreciate the effort as well as the result, “he signed.