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Not worried about my rivals, want to hit 90-metre mark this season: Neeraj Chopra


New Delhi, May 21 (IANS) Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Neeraj Chopra on Saturday said that he is not worried about the big performances of their rivals at the beginning of the season but he aims to hit the 90-metre mark this season.

Neeraj is currently working hard on his body, strength as well honing his skills with his coach Klaus Bartonietz at the training base in Turkey.

On the other hand, his rivals — world champion Anderson Peters of Grenada and Tokyo Olympics silver winner Jakub Vadlejch of Czech Republic — had come up with 93.07m and 90.88m throws respectively in the Doha Diamond League on May 13.

However, the star Indian athlete, who has a personal best of 88.07m and won gold in Tokyo Olympics with a throw of 87.58m, doesn’t want to take pressure and instead wishes to give his best.

“There is no fixed target for any specific event, I try not to take that pressure on myself. Peters and Valdech must be working hard and so they are doing well. Yes, there is the aim of crossing 90m which I have always said and I am hopeful it will happen this year in some competition,” Chopra said in a virtual media interaction.

“I know competition is tough and growing. It also depends on the day’s performance, weather and other conditions, how we manage them. I normally don’t think about surpassing anybody’s performance or record. I just go out to give my best,” he added.

The 24-year old hasn’t taken part in any competition since winning gold in Tokyo on August 7 last year. His first competition of the season will be at the Paavo Nurmi Games in Finland on June 14, followed by the Kuortane Games four days later. Chopra is also planning to feature in the top-flight Diamond League Meeting in Stockholm on June 30 before heading for the June 15-24 World Championships in Eugene, USA.

Though Neeraj doesn’t want to rush into things, he is hoping to do well in the World Championships.

“I don’t have to hit 90m straightway, 86 or 87m at the start of the season will be fine. My main target this year is to do well in the World Championships. Then there is the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham (July 28 to August 8) where I will defend my gold (won in 2018 CWG),” he said.

The athlete also spoke about his training and preparations for the upcoming season.

“The off season was good. I have started throwing training, two throwing sessions in a week. I also do sprinting, lifting weights etc. I have started working on my technique, on my runway, picking up speed and blocking,” said Neeraj.

“I don’t need to make major changes, mostly focussing on my technique, which angle I have to throw, on my blocking, from where I have to start my runway. I don’t want to get injured while doing major changes,” he added.

The golden boy also mentioned that his goal is to remain injury free and wants to peak at the right time.

“My aim is also to end the season injury free. I am starting 40-45 days before the World Championships so that I can peak there. I am going to have three events next month in the space of just over two weeks,” said Chopra.

“Initially, I had planned to compete in Doha Diamond League (May 13) but dropped later. I could have started a bit early had we known that Asian Games would be postponed,” he added.


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