Olympic-bound star Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra has reached Portugal to take part in an event in Lisbon on June 10, which will mark his return to international competition after more than a year, reported PTI.
Chopra, who has not taken part in any international event after qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics in January last year in South Africa, reached Lisbon on Sunday. He will compete at the Meeting Cidade de Lisboa (Meeting, City of Lisbon) on June 10 at Lisbon University Stadium, the report added.
“Chopra will take part in a competition in Lisbon on June 10. We are trying for other events also, including the Karlstad Grand Prix in Sweden on June 22,” a source in the Athletics Federation of India told PTI on Monday.
“In Lisbon, he will be able to train as well as take part in competition. That is the most important thing as many countries have stipulated hard quarantine for arriving Indians.”
The CEO of JSW Sports, Chopra’s sponsors, Parth Jindal said the reigning Asian and Commonwealth Games champion has reached Portugal.
Chopra had spoken about lack of competition hampering his Olympic build-up during an interaction a few weeks ago. He was laid low by an elbow injury all through 2019 after a breakthrough 2018 season, where he won the Commonwealth and Asian Games. Then, the pandemic struck in 2020.
“I feel frustrated that I lost the two best years of my career for reasons that I couldn’t control,” Chopra had said at a virtual media conference organised by the Sports Authority of India recently.
“Sometimes I think what are we training for if there is no target. How long to stay patient and be positive? Everyone trains to perform in competition, to play against the best. Without that, there is no point to training,” he added.
Chopra had created a new national record, bettering his own mark set at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, on his way to a gold medal in the third leg of the Indian Grand Prix event, held in Patiala.
He had qualified for the Olympics with a throw of 87.86m, which bettered the qualifying mark of 85m, at an event at Potchefstroom, South Africa, in January last year. After that, he had a brief training stint in Turkey before rushing back home in March last year just before the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
(With PTI inputs)