India's Olympic javelin champion Neeraj Chopra set to start season in Doha Diamond League

Tokyo Games' gold medalist coming off win in last year's Diamond League in Zurich says he is injury-free and raring to go


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Published: Mon 17 Apr 2023, 12:29 AM

The Diamond League is set to start in Doha on May 25, 2023, with the best track and field athletes making their way to Qatar to compete in the international competition. Ahead of the League, India's Tokyo 2020 gold medalist Neeraj Chopra is set to compete in the competition after winning the 2022 Diamond League final that was held in Zurich.

Before travelling to Doha to compete in the Diamond League, which will be the first competitive tournament of 2023, Neeraj Chopra talked about how he is preparing to compete against the best in Doha.

"My preparations are going well. We were in South Africa recently where we were focusing on concentrating on strength and conditioning. Now we are in Turkey at the Gloria Sports Arena to improve my technical skill so that I am in peak condition to compete in the Diamond League in Doha," Chopra said during the media interaction.

The year 2022 year proved amazing for Chopra, though due to injury he missed out on the Commonwealth Games 2022. Chopra said that he is injury-free and will start the season healthy.

"All our training plans so far have gone well, and the good thing is I've been injury-free. The hope is to have a healthy season and stay away from injuries," he added.

"This year we have a hectic competitive schedule with the Asian games in October later this year, so I want to improve technically as much as I can before we start competing this year. Along with the coaches and physios we are planning my training schedule very precisely so that I can improve while giving myself enough time to recover also because I want to compete in as many competitions this year as possible and avoid any kind of injuries." Chopra said.

"I am always looking to improve so that is my main focus this year also, I want to keep on enhancing my performance with each passing competition and year."

He went on to talk about the dynamic he shares with Coach Klaus Bartonietz, who has been guiding Chopra since 2019 and has been by his side through various successes he has had over the last four years.

Chopra said: "Coach Klaus is wonderful; we share a great dynamic. He understands the mindset of an athlete really well, due to which he does not pile on unnecessary pressure on me at any point. He always makes sure that I am not frustrated and helps me manage tough situations in training really well. So, we are focused on improving as much as we can ahead of the Diamond League in Doha."

Chopra, who won the silver medal at the World Championships in 2022 that were held in Eugene, talked about how motivated he is to compete against the best athletes in the world at the Diamond League in Doha.

The native of India's Haryana state said: "It feels great to go up against the best athletes from across the globe, it gives me a chance to test myself out against elite competitors which is always a great motivator for me. I did not participate in the previous Diamond League that was held in Doha, because I felt I had not got a chance to train enough, but this time we started our preparations on time and now I feel primed to compete in the league in Doha this year. So hopefully, we will come away with the desired result.

"Winning the gold medal at my first ever Olympics in Tokyo does also serve as a great motivator for me, especially since my overall experience of the games was wonderful. I am sure people's expectations of me will be higher for the 2024 Paris Olympics, but I will take that in my stride and will convert those expectations and pressure into motivators. I have also learned a great deal since that gold medal in Tokyo of how to handle the pressure and maintain focus. We put in a lot of work to compete at the Tokyo games, so I will be looking to work even harder for the Paris Games so that we can come home with another medal from the games," Chopra concluded.

In June, Chopra made a new Indian national record and finished with a silver medal with a throw of 89.30 metres at the Paavo Nurmi Games in Finland, bettering his own previous national record of 88.07 meters which he had set in Patiala, India, in March last year.

In June again, he gave another sterling performance as he clinched gold in the 2022 Kuortane Games in Finland. Chopra threw 86.69m to clinch the top prize in tricky and wet conditions.

At the World Athletics Championships in July, Neeraj Chopra made history by becoming only the second Indian and the first male track and field athlete to take home a medal. He finished second and won the silver medal, realising his aim of winning a World medal with a throw of 88.13 metres. Anju Bobby George won a bronze medal for India in the long jump competition before Chopra.

In September, Chopra made history by becoming the first-ever Indian to win the prestigious Diamond League trophy, a top-tier athletics competition, achieving the best throw of 88.44m to clinch one of the biggest wins of his career.

He now holds the male javelin record thanks to a throw in the Stockholm Diamond League that measured 89.94 metres, with which he broke his own record. He clinched a silver medal at the prestigious Diamond League meet in Stockholm and broke his own previous record.


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