Neeraj elbowing his way back to form
Chandigarh: One of India’s brightest medal hopes for Tokyo Olympics is back on the training ground with a brace in his arm, a steely resolve in his eyes and a killer attitude.
“Jab tak aap 100 per cent nahi de sakte, toh koi fayada nahi hai kisi bhi competition me participate karne ka. Mai sirf compete karne mey yakeen nahi rakhta, mai jeetne ke liye jata hun. (There is no point participating in any tournament if you are not 100% fit. I don’t just compete, I only go to win, and nothing less),” said javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, who will be skipping the World Championships in Doha, Qatar, from September 27 to October 6 owing to a surgery on his right elbow.
The 21-year-old from Khandra village in Panipat, Haryana, knows injuries and comebacks are an integral part of an athlete’s career. He is a tad dejected over the turn of events but is optimistic about the future.
“I am disappointed. I was hitting all the right notes. I was also consistent, but you can’t plan for injuries. I never wanted to rush myself. There is still a lot of time for the Olympics and I am sure I will make the cut,” Chopra told TOI in an exclusive chat.
Four months after his surgery on September 2, Chopra has resumed his training at the National Institute of Sports (NIS), Patiala, but the niggles are yet to go away. “It was the happiest day of my life when doctors removed the braces from my elbow. I felt so free. Aisa laga ki khul ke saans le raha hun (It felt like I have started breathing again),” he said. I have learnt a lot in this period, both on and off the field.”
When asked whether he still feels the pain during practice, he replied, “I have not started full training yet, but yes, I can still feel the pain while throwing the javelin from a short run-up. I still can’t lift my elbow to 90 degrees. It will take time and hopefully, by the end of this year, I will hit the ground running.”
Neeraj’s German coach Uwe Hohn hasn’t yet arrived at NIS yet. “Right now, I am training under assistant coach Dr Klaus (Bartonietz). We are working on my technique,” said Neeraj.
“I keep in touch with Uwe sir over the phone and through messages. He is keeping a close eye on my rehabilitation and practice sessions,” said Neeraj with a smile on his face. Despite the hype around him, Neeraj is not worried about the high expectations. “I am actually not worried about all these expectations from me regarding the Tokyo Olympics. At present, my only focus is on making a strong comeback. AurrahibaatTokyoki,tohwahaanbhila tth gaaddenge (As far as Tokyo is concerned, I will prove myself there also),” he said with a touch of Haryanvi flavor. the showpiece event. The Indian had been given a firstround bye. In the evening session, Manish Kaushik (63kg) was equally ruthless against Enrico Lacruz of The Netherlands, winning by an identical 5-0 margin. Another Indian, Ashish Kumar (75kg), however, lost to his Chinese rival 2-3 in a split verdict.
Dismal start by India’s Greco-Roman wrestlers at Worlds:
In a dismal start for India, all four Greco-Roman wrestlers in action on Saturday exited the World Cham
Neeraj Chopra has resumed training post surgery