Neeraj Chopra Aims to Break 90m Barrier Before Paris Olympics

Neeraj Chopra Aims to Break 90m Barrier Before Paris Olympics

Olympic gold medalist Neeraj Chopra is setting his sights on breaking the 90-meter barrier in javelin throw before the 2024 Paris Olympics. The Indian star, who won gold in Tokyo in 2020, believes he is on track to achieve this milestone soon.

Chopra's best competitive throw stands at 89.94m, achieved at the 2022 Stockholm Diamond League. While he has surpassed 90m in training, he is yet to replicate it in competition. However, he is confident that it will happen before Paris.

"I will try to breach the 90m mark before that (Paris Olympics). Hopefully, it happens before Paris, everything is going on smoothly, so (people) might not have to wait till the Olympics, it might happen before that. The preparation is good," Chopra said.

Chopra's confidence stems from a successful off-season focused on fitness and strength, as well as the success he has achieved since winning gold in Tokyo. He has won the Diamond League trophy, retained his Asian Games gold, and earned a silver and gold at the World Championships.

"After Tokyo, the self-confidence has definitely gone up. Besides, I have also played quite a few events... two world championships, a silver and a gold there, won the Diamond League trophy, made some good throws, then retained the Asian Games gold (in Hangzhou) as well," Chopra said.

"So, the success between Tokyo and Paris has given me a lot of confidence that yes I can do it against strong competitors."

Chopra has also worked on improving his technique since Tokyo. "Before Tokyo, whatever shortcomings I had and during the years leading to Paris, I have worked on them. The best part is everything is going smoothly and I am very positive."

Chopra will begin his competitive season with the Doha Diamond League Meeting on May 10, followed by the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland on June 18. He will face stiff competition from 19-year-old German sensation Max Dehning, who recently threw 90.20m.

"They (two tournaments) are very crucial in the run-up to Olympics, to get that competitive feel back (after the off-season). I will also decide in consultation with my coach and team which competitions to take part in."

Chopra is excited about the prospect of competing against Dehning. "When I competed in Tokyo and elsewhere, most of my competitors came in boasting of 90-plus throws. So, it's not such a big deal. What matters is what you do on that particular day."

"I am excited to compete against Dahlin. But it depends on the kind of pressure they (competitors) are able to handle. That is the biggest challenge. I'm sure I will play a lot of matches with Max (Dahlin). Never played with him before. It will be interesting, I will enjoy."

Chopra also praised fellow Indian javelin thrower Kishore Jena, who won silver at the Asian Games. "The way he has progressed in the world championships and the Asian Games, who knows Kishore might breach the 90m mark before me. 90m mark atka hua hai, but kabhi na kabhi ho jayega (That 90m-mark has not come thus far, but some day it will happen)."

Tags: #NeerajChopra, #JavelinThrow, #ParisOlympics, #90mMark, #IndianAthletics

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