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Javelin champ Neeraj Chopra sets sights on 2019 world meet

Neeraj skipped the season-ending domestic meet, the National Open Athletics Championships at Bhubaneswar from September 25-28, to overcome what he said was “mental exhaustion”.

other sports Updated: Oct 10, 2018 08:08 IST
Navneet Singh
Navneet Singh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
neeraj chopra,javelin,asian games
File image of Neeraj Chopra.(AFP)

India’s star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra is looking forward to resume training for a fresh season after a deserved break at the end of 2018 that saw him crowned the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games champion.

The Haryana athlete took time off after participating in the September 8-9 Continental Cup in Ostrava, Czech Republic. He skipped the season-ending domestic meet, the National Open Athletics Championships at Bhubaneswar from September 25-28, to overcome what he said was “mental exhaustion” as well.

However, family commitments and social engagements proved more taxing than he had thought, Chopra said. “I’ve been travelling and training hard for quite some time. Since I was away from home, I wanted to take a break but eventually I had to switch off my phone,” Chopra said. “The last two weeks have been quite draining, at least mentally.”

Neeraj, 20, had performed consistently at a top level in 2018, regularly hitting the 85m mark. It helped him win back-to-back titles, at the April Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast and then at the Jakarta Asian Games with a national record of 88.06m. He also took part in the Diamond League circuit.

With national camp starting in Patiala on Wednesday, the ever-smiling thrower from Haryana is expecting another demanding season. “This year has been good. I hope to carry on the momentum next year too,” he said on the sidelines of a function in Rohtak, Haryana.

The 2016 World junior champion says the upcoming season will be more challenging than last year. “It might be a non-Olympic year but I have set a higher benchmark for next season. My target is also to excel in the World Athletics Championships in September (Qatar),” he said.

In the 2017 World Athletics Championships at London, Neeraj didn’t qualify for the final. Davinder Singh Kang did, but he was provisionally suspended in March for doping.

Last season, Neeraj was based in Offenburg, Germany, where he trained with German expert Werner Daniels. For the next season, the national champion has no plans to shift base but he will train with the national coach, former German javelin great Uwe Hohn. Among his priorities will be polishing his technique further.

First Published: Oct 10, 2018 08:07 IST