Neeraj Chopra: Tokyo Olympics qualification was major target during rehab

Neeraj Chopra's last major international competition was the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games where he won gold with a national record of 88.06m.

After recovering from an elbow injury, ace India javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra has qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with a throw of 87.86m at the Athletics Central North East meeting in South Africa.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Neeraj Chopra marked a memorable comeback to competitive throwing, registering a best throw of 87.86m – the second-best throw of his career– to win the ACNW League Meeting in Potchefstroom, South Africa on Tuesday evening.

The 22-year-old Indian, who missed the entire 2019 season due to the injury, breached the Olympic qualification mark of 85m in his fourth attempt and secured the top place at the international event on Tuesday.

After undergoing an elbow arthroscopy surgery on May 2, 2019, Chopra underwent rehabilitation at National Institute of Sport, Patiala and the Inspire Institute of Sport, Vijayanagar, before shifting base to Potchefstroom, South Africa to train under coach Klaus Bartonietz in November last year.

 

Major target

“I am extremely pleased with the performance. Going into the competition, I did not try to put much pressure on myself and was keen to test myself out as it was my first meet in a long time. The warm-up throws went very well, and even though my first three throws were around the 81-82m mark, I felt there were some flaws I could work on,” Chopra said from Potchefstroom after the meet.

READ: The making of Neeraj Chopra

This was a major target for me during my rehab and I’m happy to have qualified. I will now get back to my regular training here in Potchefstroom with my coach and physio in a few days and continue my training towards the Olympics. I will look to compete more in the coming months and am looking forward to more high-quality competition at the Federation Cup and the Diamond League circuit.”

“I have had a difficult time over the past year, but I knew I was preparing myself to come back stronger. I am extremely grateful for all the support and guidance I have received from all quarters and I am committed to come back stronger and make the country proud.”