Tokyo Olympics: The Hohn influence on Neeraj Chopra

Uwe Hohn, former coach of Neeraj Chopra, had predicted greater glories for his ward after the Asian Games gold in Jakarta in 2018.

Neeraj Chopra of India celebrates with his coach Uwe Hohn after winning gold medal in the Asian Games in 2018.   -  FILE PHOTO/ REUTERS

Uwe Hohn may no longer be the coach of Neeraj Chopra, but the German certainly played a significant role in shaping up his career.

Neeraj won gold at the Asian and Commonwealth Games while he was training with Hohn.

After Neeraj clinched the gold medal at the Asian Games in Jakarta with a National record of 88.06m, Hohn had said in an interview, at the Ekamra Sports Literature Festival at Bhubaneswar, that his ward was destined for greater glory.

“A medal at the Tokyo Olympics is not beyond him,” he had said. “He is already one of the best in the world.” That was three years ago. On Saturday at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium, Hohn’s words came true.

READ| Neeraj Chopra wins gold, independent India's first ever athletics medal

Neeraj had indeed made history. He did what no Indian track-and-field athlete had ever done: win a medal at the Olympics and a gold at that! Hohn himself had done with a javelin no one else ever has. He is the only one to throw 100m or more, his feat coming on Olympic Day of the athletics meet in Berlin on July 20, 1984. His effort: 104.80m.

Hohn had wanted to throw the javelin since the age of 14. Unfortunately, he could not compete at the Olympics that year in Los Angeles as East Germany had boycotted the Games. “I had to miss the Olympics for no fault of mine,” Hohn had said. “I could have won the gold.”

That thought might still be bothering him, but Neeraj’s gold in Tokyo could make him feel better.

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