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Neeraj Chopra's battle: Can he overcome fitness challenges?

Source: PTI
July 03, 2023 15:25 IST
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I competed in Lausanne with fitness concerns: Neeraj Chopra

Neeraj Chopra

Photograph: Kind Courtesy Neeraj Chopra/Instagram

Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra on Monday admitted that he was in a quandary whether to go full throttle in Lausanne because he was returning from an injury and his fitness level was still not at the desired level.

The star javelin clinched his second consecutive Diamond League title on June 30 with a throw of 87.66m -- an effort that was not close to his best in recent past.

After the event, Chopra said that his next competition will be in Budapest. It means that he may miss a couple of international events before that.


The Hungarian capital of Budapest will host the World Athletics Championships from August 19 to 27. The javelin throw competition begins with the qualification round on August 25.

"Overall, my fitness level was a bit low (in Lausanne). Because of the injury, there was a question mark on my mind also whether I am 100 per cent fit or not, whether I have to push myself or not," Chopra said during a virtual media interaction.

"I need to improve my fitness, work on it (fitness) through training so that I can give my best at the World Championships and fulfil the dream of winning gold there."

The 25-year-Chopra, who had also won the season-opening Diamond League in Doha on May 5, had sustained a muscle strain while training, which he had announced on May 29.

He said saving himself from injury will be his main goal this season as three major competitions -- World Championships in August, Diamond League Finals in September and Asian Games in October -- are lined up.

"I have to go with 100 per cent fitness in these events. If I am not physically fit, I will also be not mentally ready. Not only the physical aspect, the mental aspect is also important," he said.

"There is a lot of time now to work on my fitness and be ready for the World Championships and other major events."

Chopra has already got 16 Diamond League points after winning two legs, which should suffice to earn a place in the grand finale in Eugene, USA, on September 16-17.

There are still two Diamond League events which have javelin throw on the roster before the grand finale -- in Monaco on July 21 and in Zurich August 31.

Chopra, however, said that he has not finally decided that he will skip the Monaco leg.

"There is still time before Monaco. We will see for up to seven days and decide on whether to compete there or not. If I feel that I am good and up for it, I will go there and compete."

Chopra is the reigning Diamond League champion, having won the trophy in the 2022 grand finale in Zurich in September last. 

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