Neeraj Chopra’s to-do list for 2023 season: Staying injury-free to crowning himself world athletics champion | More sports News Apextalk

NEW DELHI: Neeraj Chopra looks to remain “injury-free” as India’s Olympic javelin champion gears up for a long, gruelling athletics season ahead, beginning with his title defence of Diamond League in Doha on May 5.
Neeraj, who travelled to the UK’s Loughborough University and South Africa’s Potchefstroom for training-cum-exposure trips before settling down in Turkey’s Gloria Sports Arena in Antalya for the upcoming European and continental championships, will be seen in action for the first time since September last year at the season-opening Doha meet at the Suheim bin Hamad Stadium, where he will face-off against reigning world champion, Grenadian Anderson Peters, Czech Republic’s Olympic silver medallist Jakub Vadlejch and European champion Julian Weber of Germany, among others.
“The preparations have been excellent heading into a new season. We have World athletics championships in Hungary’s Budapest, Diamond League Finals in USA’s Eugene and then the Asian Games in China’s Hangzhou. The season is packed with important events. So, the effort would be to remain injury-free and stay fit. I want to end the season on a successful note,” said Neeraj in a virtual media interaction with Indian journalists on Sunday from his training base in Antalya.
“Last time, I finished second behind Peters at the World Championships in Eugene despite suffering a groin injury between my throws. This year, I would like to finish on the top of the podium. Winning a gold is the target. I am confident about my chances. At the same time, I am under no pressure or stress,” said the javelin thrower with a best throw of 89.94m, achieved at the Stockholm Diamond League in Sweden on June 30, 2022.
Neeraj had missed the Doha leg of the Diamond League last year due to an injury. He began his season late with the Turku Paavo Nurmi Games in Finland on June 14, where he broke his own national record with a throw of 89.30m to win silver. Though Neeraj has chosen to begin his season early this time, the Zurich Diamond League finale winner informed that he would pick-and-choose tournaments in consultation with his German biomechanics expert and coach, Dr Klaus Bartonietz and physio Ishaan Marwaha to remain fit right up to the Hangzhou Asiad in Sep-Oct.
“We have a confirmed entry for Doha. Rest we will decide as the season progresses. I had missed the Birmingham CWG last year because I didn’t want to aggravate my groin injury ahead of the Diamond League Final. I have learnt my lessons from the injury sustained at the athletics Worlds. I felt discomfort after my winning throw of 88.13m in the fourth attempt but kept pushing myself to do one better which aggravated my injury. I should have stopped right there. I don’t want a repeat of that situation. This time, I’ll be more careful in my approach. I’ll stop and not push myself hard if I sense an injury happening,” he said.
Talking about his training stints, Neeraj said he largely worked on improving his technique and building muscle mass. “In Loughborough, I mostly worked on building my stamina and endurance level. The university had an excellent indoor and outdoor track and its gymnasium was world-class. So, we did a lot of cardio workout there. In Potchefstroom, we worked on my throws and building specific muscles to increase strength. The coach (Klaus) focused on improving the technical part of my game. We have fine tuned my throwing technique. The reason behind choosing Turkey was to cut down on the travel time. Most of my competitions are in Europe, so it’s better to have one permanent training base. Also, all the world-class athletes across disciplines are preparing for their season in Gloria. So, in a way, it’s good to train alongside them,” he said.
Neeraj also talked about his bonding with Klaus and said the German never lets him feel frustrated or demoralised. “I have been working with him since 2019. We two form a solid combination. His coaching methods are excellent. He creates a happy atmosphere at our training sessions. He always encourages and motivates me and doesn’t put too much pressure on me to perform.”

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