New Delhi: He has a history-making Olympic gold in his pocket. Now javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra has another target to fulfil. He has already won the 2018 Commonwealth Games and Asian Games titles. As a result Neeraj Chopra is now targeting a top podium finish in the World Athletics Championships to be held in the US next year. The World Championships was to be held this year in Oregon in US. However, it was pushed to 2022 after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was postponed by one year due to the Covid -19 pandemic. It will now be held July 15-24, 2022.
“I have already won gold in Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and now an Olympic gold. So my next target is winning gold in World Championships,” Chopra said during a press conference arranged by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) to felicitate him.
“World Championships is big a competition and sometimes tougher than the Olympics. I am not going to be content with this Olympic gold and sit on this laurel. I would like to do even better and win gold again in Asian Games, CWG and again in Olympics. Only one Indian has won a World Championship bronze medal. It is with Anju madam and I want to win it also,” said Chopra with legendary Anju Bobby George by his side. George won a bronze in the 2003 World Championships in Paris in women’s long jump.
The 23-year-old superstar also felt that his inclusion in the national camp by AFI in 2015 despite finishing fifth during the National Games in Kerala was a turning point in his career. Before joining the national camp in early 2015, Chopra was training at Tau Devi Lal Stadium at Panchkula after shifting from Shivaji Stadium at Panipat.
“We did good training but the facilities, equipment, diet were not that good (at Panchkula), but once I joined the national camp (at NIS Patiala) everything changed. I got better facilities, better diet and equipment only after joining national camp. And the most important thing is the feeling that I am training along with the best javelin throwers of this country. That is a different feeling,” Chopra pointed out. “So, joining the national camp changed my career and I want to thank the AFI for that,” he added.
After joining the national camp, Chopra first trained with late Australian coach Gary Calvert. After that, he was under former world record holder Uwe Hohn before switching to train under bio-mechanics expert Klaus Bertonietz who accompanied Chopra to Tokyo.
“I respect Hohn sir, I won gold in 2018 Asian Games and Commonwealth Games under him. But his technical approach and style of training was different. I told him that I want to work with Klaus sir,” Chopra informed.
“His (Klaus’) training plans were good and suited me. He plans training according to the body of the athlete, he has also worked with a lot of athletes in different countries,” Chopra added.
Chopra was asked if he now realises the magnitude of his feat. “I couldn’t believe I had won gold. I was asking myself whether this is a dream but I realised that the gold medal is with me. So this is not a dream,” he added.