Tribune News Service
New Delhi, May 12
Neeraj Chopra tried to stay positive during today’s interaction with media. Even then, he could not hide his real self, showing that despite the impressive muscle mass on the outside, the javelin ace is human, after all.
Chopra, among the select few Indians who have an outside chance to make the podium in the Tokyo Olympics, said he has cut himself from the outside world to focus on this training as news of deaths and rising number of Covid-19 cases could have a lasting effect on his mindset.
“I have stopped reading newspapers or watching TV because all we get to see is that so many people are Corona-positive or so many people have died due to it. These things do affect us so I have stopped watching news,” Chopra said today.
“Even if I talk to family I get to know that someone in the extended family has died. These things do affect us and so I am staying away from all of this to keep my focus on training,” the Indian Army Subedar added.
The javelin ace said he and his teammates are trying hard to focus on training amidst the latest surge in the Covid-19 cases.
“I am not the only one who is getting affected. It is the same for everyone. Coronavirus has spread all over our country and we have to stay positive and prepare well for the Games,” the 23-year-old said. “It is very difficult (under the circumstances) but I am trying to keep focus and train well.”
“We are also trying to help people around us, those who need help. As athletes we have to continue our training and we are trying to stay focussed,” he added.
Other than the gloom all across, Chopra is also worried about getting some international exposure before heading to Tokyo for the Olympics as he has not competed in an international event for over two years now.
An elbow injury followed by surgery ended his season in 2019 and the Covid-19 outbreak washed away all the competitions in 2020, the only exception being the ACNE League meeting in Potchefstroom, South Africa, in January 2020. It was here that he qualified for the Tokyo Olympics with a throw of 87.86 metres.
Needless to say, he is itching to compete again.
“My training is going well but I feel the need to compete again. AFI, SAI, TOPS… All are trying hard to get us a few competitions. I am desperate because I have not competed internationally for over two years now,” Chopra said.
“I need that exposure as due to injury I did not compete in 2019, and 2020 and now 2021 got wasted because of the pandemic. As an athlete, I feel competitions are as important as trainings. There are talks that we may go to Sweden. If we get a few competitions before the Olympics, then it will be of great help,” he added.