India’s only gold medallist in athletics at the 21st Commonwealth Games, young javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra has set his eyes at achieving a distance of 90m consistently to enhance his chances of winning a medal at the Olympics.
The 20-year-old from Haryana, who clinched the gold at 2016 World Junior Championships, produced a season best of 86.47 metres to claim the yellow metal at Gold Coast to became only the fourth Indian individual in the history of the Games to win a track and field gold.
“I had trained in Germany (under prominent coach Werner Daniels) for three months. I used to train and also cook my own food. I had to work hard for this gold and I hope this motivates others to also take up the sport and do well for the country,” Neeraj told PTI during an interaction which was part of a felicitation program organised by the Indian Army.
“My main target is to achieve a distance of 90m. That is a benchmark at world level and if I can throw that much then I will be able to win a medal at world level and also at Olympics.”
German duo of Johannes Vetter (94.44) and Thomas Rhler (93.90) are placed second and third in the all-time list of top 25 javelin thrower, which is topped by Czech Jan elezn (98.48).
Neeraj’s coach legendary German Uwe Hohn, a former world record holder, is the only javelin thrower to cross 100m mark with a throw of 104.80 in 1984, two years before the men’s javelin was re-designed, which shortened the throwing distance by approximately 10 percent.
Talking about his furture events, Neeraj said: “Asian Games are there next and then of course the Olympics. But before that I will take part in some Diamond League series, where the competition is tough. Then there is also World Championship next year,” said Neeraj, who has a personal best of 86.48m.
“I will train at Patiala and if there is any training opportunity before the Asian Games then I will go.
“The competition is good in Asian Games, Chinese Taipei, Qatar and there are 2-3 countries who are doing well.”