The raging second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has left India in a precarious position. News of sufferings and deaths are dominating the media space. Like every Indian Neeraj Chopra, star javelin thrower and one of the best bets of the country for a medal at the Tokyo Olympics, also is finding it disturbing.
“An athlete’s biggest motivation is good training. If my training is good I stay motivated. But the situation now is such that you may find it difficult to keep yourself motivated. It’s very distressing to see so many people getting affected by the virus and so many deaths… So I have stopped reading newspapers and kept the television switched off. It’s like, god what’s happening in our country.
“Even when you are talking to someone in your family he would say a distant relative has succumbed to Covid-19. So I have decided to shut myself off to stay focused,” Neeraj said from Patiala during a virtual media interaction organised by Sports Authority of India (SAI) on Wednesday.
Another thing that’s worrying Neeraj ahead of the Tokyo Games is the lack of foreign exposure due to the pandemic. He qualified for the Tokyo Games in January last year — his first competitive tournament since winning gold in the 2018 Asian Games as he was forced to undergo an elbow operation in 2019 — in Potchefstroom, South Africa, with a throw of 87.86 metres.
“Training is fine and I am giving my 100 per cent. But what I need now is competition. SAI is trying its best to ensure I can get some international meets abroad.
“It’s been more than two years that I haven’t participated in an international competition. Due to the elbow injury 2019 got wasted and 2020 and 2021 went down the drain due to Covid-19.
“I need those meets badly. That’s as important as training,” he said.