AFI official Jones recalls early memories of Neeraj Chopra

Stanley Jones, Chairman, Technical Committee of the AFI, feels Neeraj can win the World Championship too.

B.E. Stanley Jones, Chairman,Technical Committee of Athletics Federation of India.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Neeraj Chopra, India's gold medallist at the Tokyo Olympics 2020, had set a javelin record in the 2014 National junior athletic championship (under-18) at Indira Gandhi Municipal Corporation Stadium, said B.E. Stanley Jones, Chairman,Technical Committee of Athletics Federation of India.

Hyderabad-based Jones, the then chairman of the State Athletic Association Technical Panel, said nobody had high expectations from Neeraj during that time. “No one had even an inkling that he would be the pride of the entire nation. For the simple reason, his record throw of 76.50 m in the Vijayawada meet was not deemed sensational then,” the AFI official told Sportstar on Tuesday.

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“But, it was the AFI's move to rope him in the national camp after his fifth-place performance in the 2015 National Games because it felt he had the spark in him that could help him go places," added Jones.

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He revealed that the AFI imported equipment worth $17,000 to help Neeraj in speed and strength training. “That equipment is available only with those from Germany, China and now India.

“But I am glad that such a humble and dedicated boy who is not interested in anything other than javelin is now the biggest sporting star in India, and I am sure he has a bright chance of winning the World Championship too,” he said.

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