Neeraj Chopra skips Diamond League event in London, to continue training in Sweden until Tokyo Olympics

Neeraj Chopra skips Diamond League event in London, to continue training in Sweden until Tokyo Olympics

Neeraj Chopra is expected to fly to Tokyo in the last week of July. The qualifying round for the men’s javelin is on August 4, while the final is set for August 7.   -  PTI

Indian javelin star Neeraj Chopra has withdrawn from the Diamond League event in London and will continue to train at his base in Uppsala, Sweden until the Tokyo Olympics. This was the last chance of competition for Neeraj ahead of the Tokyo Games. 

The 23-year-old is expected to fly to Tokyo in the last week of July. The qualifying round for the men’s javelin is on August 4, while the final is set for August 7.

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Sources close to the athlete told Sportstar that the decision was taken considering the many logistical concerns around the Tokyo Olympics. The organisers have stated that athletes who will be travelling to Tokyo from certain countries will be subjected to additional tests and stricter measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. The countries have been identified by the Japanese Government as presenting a higher level of risk due to the presence of COVID-19 variants, such as the rapidly spreading Delta variant.  The United Kingdom, where the Diamond League event is being held, is among the countries on that list. 

If Neeraj were to travel for the Diamond League event, he would have to get tested every day, for three days, prior to his departure to Japan. And upon his arrival there, he would not be allowed to physically interact with anyone from another team, delegation or country for the first three days. Keeping these concerns in mind, Neeraj’s team chose to stick to their training base at Uppsala until the Tokyo Games.

READ: Neeraj Chopra wins Karlstad GP

The reigning Asian and Commonwealth Games champion had also pulled out of the Top Athletics event in Lucerne, Switzerland in the last week of June.

Adille Sumariwala, president of the Athletics Federation of India, had told this publication then that there was no injury concern and that “it was a matter of strategy.”

Neeraj travelled to Portugal in the first week of June in search of more competitions ahead of the Olympics and took part in three events.

He began his international season by winning the City of Lisbon athletics meet with a best throw of 82.18m and then won the Karlstad Open in Sweden with a below-average performance of 80.96m. He then finished third with 86.79m at the Kuortane Games in Finland - which remains his best throw of the season.

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