No competition for Neeraj ahead of Tokyo Olympics

The Tribune

The Tribune

Author 2019-09-15 10:34:00

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Deepankar Sharda
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, September 14

Neeraj Chopra is back on the field after undergoing surgery on his right elbow, but India’s ace javelin thrower is not the same fearless 21-year-old who created history by winning a gold medal each at the Commonwealth and Asian Games in 2018. He knows that his comeback journey will not be easy and he will have to work hard to regain his mojo.

The Haryana lad, who was scheduled to compete in the Doha World Championships, World Military Games and other events this year, is still feeling a “mild jerk” in his elbow and does not want to risk a premature return.

“I will not be competing in any of the tournaments before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as I won’t risk a premature return,” revealed Chopra, who was at DAV College here to inaugurate the new cricket academy to be run by former India international Yograj Singh.

“I feel a mild jerk (in the elbow) while throwing the javelin with full force. I tried it with a short run-up but I’m not getting ample force to cross the 80m mark. I have to wait before giving a full-arm swing,” he said.

The youngster, though, said things were improving and he was slowly regaining fitness. “Things improved during my stay at the rehabilitation centre in Mumbai and I am regaining form with every passing day,” he said.

The former world junior champion had an arthroscopic surgery done on his right elbow and is currently undergoing a period of rest and rehabilitation. “I had big plans for this year, but I will have to bite time to recover fully from the setback,” he said.

However, he felt “lucky” for not being put on complete bed rest after the surgery. “I managed my health well during this period. Except for my right elbow and shoulder, I tried to maintain my physique. I am among a few lucky sportspersons who have managed a quick recovery after an injury,” he said.

“However, the fear of getting fit in time is something which worries me a lot. I still have age on my side and there’s better scope of a comeback, he added.

After veteran sprinter Milkha Singh, who won a gold medal in the 1958 Commonwealth Games, and discus thrower Vikas Gowda, who topped the podium in the 2014 edition of the quadrennial event, Chopra became the third Indian athlete to win a gold medal in the CWG last year. With a throw of 86.47m, Chopra clinched the title at the Gold Coast Games.

He followed it up with an 87.43m throw at the Doha leg of the Diamond League and then registered the season’s best of 88.06m to win the gold at the Asian Games in Jakarta. Subsequently, Chopra finished sixth on the IAAF athletes list for 2018.

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