‘Focusing on fitness, but if even that is shut down, then might try to develop reading habit’ - Neeraj Chopra
“But, in the end, I am not the only one affected by it, it’s happening with everyone else as well. Olympics is am important part of our life.”Updated: Mar 25, 2020 10:15 IST
India star Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra recovered from an elbow injury, that kept him out of competition all of 2019, to earn himself a quota for Tokyo Olympics 2020. He was in Turkey earlier this month for a training stint when he was forced to cut short his stint and return back to India last week on Wednesday. Sports Authority of India asked Neeraj to be in quarantine for 14 days at NIS in Patiala.
Speaking exclusively to Hindustan Times, the Haryana athlete talks about his days under lockdown:
“When we were returning from Turkey, I found out that I have to be under quarantine for a while. I was not scared about it or anything. I knew that it is for everyone’s safety. It is not like the ones who are having health problems are being asked to stay in quarantine. Those, who are not having any troubles are also advised to stay isolated for public safety. I was prepared to follow this rule.
“I have been provided with all the required facilities at NIS. The food comes well-packed for me, so it’s all safe around here. No training has been done in the past few days. There is an old gym at the back of our hostel, where they have kept sanitisers and soaps. If anyone wants to work on their fitness can go there. We are not allowed to go to the ground at the moment. So, I either work out at the gym or stay in my hostel room. I am not practicing throws at the moment, so just keeping my focus on being fit.”
“I work out at least three times in a day. I get tired after all the workout, so I take a rest for a few hours. I am trying to maintain the same schedule I follow during my actual sporting days. Rest, if I find some time, I listen to music. If I feel like watching a movie, I do that. I don’t watch Netflix, I have a few movies saved on my hard disc, from which I watch. I don’t have too many books, and neither can I go out to bring one. I have a book on javelin throw, so I read about some techniques from it. Or I read a few things on my mobile phone.
“Since my entire focus is on maintaining my fitness at the moment, I haven’t thought about taking up a new hobby. But if the training shuts down completely, I might pick up some books and try to inculcate reading habit in me.
“It’s a very time for an athlete. We don’t workout and train just for our sport. It becomes our habit to remain fit, exercise regularly, and working on our techniques. Whether Olympics take place or not, an athlete feels the need to keep himself ready for competition all the time, and stopping that is difficult.
“But, at the moment, it is very important to self isolate, as it this coronavirus has already caused so many deaths, in Italy, Europe and in China. India is a huge country, and we have a large population. If it spreads here, it will be hard to contain. So, we need to take preventive measures and remain at home.
“One thing I am feeling bad about is the Olympics getting postponed due to the virus. I was injured throughout 2019, and did not participate in any competitions. I came back in January and in my first competition, achieved my Tokyo Olympics quota. But now, everything has come to a stop. There is no guarantee if Olympics will even happen or not. I I was eager to travel to Tokyo for the Olympics.
“But, in the end, I am not the only one affected by it, it’s happening with everyone else as well. Olympics is am important part of our life. But the most important thing right now is to remove the disease from the world. If everyone is healthy, then only can the athletes perform at their best. Only then can people come out and enjoy the Games. Otherwise, we will just do it for the sake of it. Fir kuchh majje wali baat nahi hogi.”
(This interview was done before PM Narendra Modi announced a compete lockdown in the country)