Need to bring out my a-game to win Khel Ratna, says Neeraj Chopra

Uppsala: Tokyo-bound javelin thrower from India, Neeraj Chopra is “ready” to showcase his skills in the upcoming Olympic Games and he is hoping to bank on the recent experience of playing in the international tournaments to give his best shot in the quadrennial event. The 23-year-old, however, has skipped the upcoming Diamond League event in London as he feels the remaining time should be invested in training for the Tokyo Olympics. “We do not have UK Visa and it is difficult to get a UK Visa here at this particular time. This time is more important for training for the Olympics. Hence, I cannot waste my time anywhere else,” said Chopra.

“After Olympics, there are two more Diamond leagues, so I can participate in those tournaments after Olympics also. And the Kuortane Games were good for me, so I thought of skipping the upcoming Diamond League,” he added.In June’s last week, Chopra won the bronze medal at the Kuortane Games in Finland. His 86.79m throw helped him finish behind world number one and 2017 world champion Johannes Vetter of Germany and London 2012 gold medallist Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago.

Chopra came into the Kuortane meet on the back of back-to-back gold medals in Europe. His first was at the Meeting Cidade de Lisboa in Portugal with an 83.18m throw and the second at the Karlstad leg of the Folksam Grand Prix in Sweden. “I have a little more than three weeks of time and the competition in which I participate was necessary for me ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. Moreover, I will have the same opponents in the Olympics also, so it was nice for me to get into the groove with international tournaments experience,” Chopra responded to a query.

The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has recommended Neeraj Chopra’s name for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award. Having already been nominated thrice on the previous occasion, Chopra feels he needs to outperform in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics to win the award this time. “I have been nominated for Khel Ratna earlier also but I did not win. I feel I have to bring out my A-game to bag Khel Ratna award,” he told.

Talking about Tokyo Olympics, Chopra said, “I feel the D-day will decide as it only matters how you perform on the day of the competition. There are throwers who have a better record than me but then what matters is how we perform on the given date. “The way is my training is going on, I am ready for the Olympics but then it again depends on how that particular day goes, I will give my best and bring a medal for the country,” he added.


Via The Daily Guardian
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