Exclusive: Neeraj Chopra says Diamond League was his biggest experience in 2018

first_imgNeeraj Chopra was India’s flagbearer at Asian Games 2018 opening ceremony. He won gold in javelin throw with a national record. He is just 20 years old.Ahead of the Asian Games, Neeraj Chopra was one of India’s biggest gold medal prospects and he did not disappoint in Jakarta, Indonesia. With a personal best throw of 88.06m, Chopra steered clear of the competition by a massive margin of at least five metres.He became India’s first ever javelin gold medallist at Asian Games and brought India’s first Games medal in the sport since 1982, where India bagged bronze.”I am very proud of my Asian Games achievement as along with the gold, I also set a national record,” Chopra told IndiaToday.in in an exclusive chat.Also read – Neeraj Chopra wins India’s first javelin gold medal in Asian Games historyChopra has been in fine form coming into the 18th edition of the Asiad. In 2018, Neeraj has won three gold medals for India, including one at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast. Sotteville Athletics Meet and the Savo Games are the other two competitions, where he bagged the top prize.Ahead of the Commonwealth Games, Neeraj had participated in the IAAF Diamond League in Doha where he had thrown his then personal best distance of 87.43 metres to finish fourth.”For me the biggest experience this year has been the Diamond League because other big champions also play and Olympics will see the same competitors and that makes a lot of difference. I will try to play in the Diamond League next year as well and hopefully win a medal, which will put me in good stead for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” Chopra told.advertisementWelcome home champion #NeerajChopra CWG 2018 @GC2018 & #AsianGames2018 Gold Medallist in Javelin Throw arrived this morning #Delhi after long time.#PrideofIndia #EnergyofAsia @Neeraj_chopra1 @nitinarya99 @BhimChopra2 pic.twitter.com/8xEFdTh095Athletics Federation of India (@afiindia) September 11, 2018Also read – Passion is very important, says Neeraj Chopra after Asian Games 2018 goldWithin hours of winning the gold medal at Asian Games, Neeraj flew out to Zurich for the prestigious Diamond League Finals, where he missed the bronze medal by a whisker after throwing the best distance of 85.73m.Chopra was in for the bronze medal finish till the final throw, where the reigning Olympic champion Thomas Rohler of Germany came up with a 85.76m effort in his last attempt to pip the Indian by a mere 0.03 meters.Chopra felt that he could have done better if he had more time in his hands after throwing a massive 88.06m in Jakarta.”I could have done better [in Diamond League] with more time. It was my first experience of such competitions but still, I threw 85+ which is also fine. May be in the coming year, I will reap its benefits and will do better.”Post the Asian Games and Diamond League euphoria, Neeraj Chopra went to the IAAF Continental Cup, where four teams from Europe, Africa, America and Asia-Pacific compete and the top two athletes in the season’s rankings from each of the four regions take part.Neeraj could not emulate his success throughout the season in Czech Republic as he finished a disappointing sixth with a best throw of 80.24m. Neeraj easily delivered an 85+ throw in his last attempt but just about landed outside the area for a foul throw, which meant the throw did not count.It was a disappointing end to a season where Neeraj has consistently throw above 85 metres and emerged as a real medal contender for India.”Everything was going well but it happened with me for the first time that a very good throw of 85+ went for a foul but I made a mistake and it will take it forward and learn from this.”Also read – Neeraj Chopra’s personal best could have won him an Olympic gold in 2012Neeraj, however, is looking forward and is aiming to work even harder for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics now. He aims to better himself and be in contention for a medal in two years’ time.”If you look at the world rankings, I’m currently at the sixth place. I have been working hard and if I perform similarly well at the Olympics, I can get a medal and might go for a gold as well, if luck also favours.”Neeraj is one of the many athletes who is associated with Gatorade and he spoke about how the drink helps him perform better on the field.”If we feel dehydrated, Gatorade really comes to our aid at that time. Along with water, Gatorade contains energy-imparting elements as well, which is very important for us.”advertisementlast_img

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