Olympic and world champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra on Tuesday made it clear that his best is yet to come. He indicated that the elusive 90m mark could be breached next year if he makes improvement in his technique, especially concerning the leg-blocking.
Chopra became world champion earlier this year, adding to his gold at the Tokyo Olympics, and then defended his Asian Games title in Hangzhou recently.
“I want to say this very clearly that my best is yet to come. I have not felt in a competition for a long time that I have done my best or done near my best,” the 25-year-old Chopra said at a promotional event here.
“Six cm is left to be achieved. It was 89.94m at the Stockholm Diamond League (in June 2022). I was a bit behind the line at that time. Had I thrown my javelin by moving a bit ahead, it would have been 90m,” said Chopra at the event announcing his association with top supplements brand Optimum Nutrition.
“I feel this year, my performance was short of my best. Next year, I will do my best throw.”
His top-class flexibility and arm speed made him Olympic and world champion but Chopra wants to perfect his leg-blocking technique.
“My coach always says that it is 60 per cent legs and 40 per cent upper body. So leg work is very important. I have to do a lot of improvement in leg work,” said the superstar javelin thrower.
“I do a lot of things well. My flexibility is quite good, but personally, I feel because of my arm speed, I am doing very well. Next year, I feel I will improve on my technique, will work more on my strength and flexibility. If everything is all right, 100 per cent fit and my groin is all right, I will do very well in Paris Olympics.”
He admitted that his technique while winning the Hangzhou Asian Games gold was not up to the mark.
“My technique was not going well during the Hangzhou Asian Games. My legwork was not that good, my blocking leg was bending. It was not that great but the important thing was that my arm was giving very good throw, my arm speed was very good.”
He also said that “in some way or the other,” his preparations for Paris Olympics will be different.
Chopra carried a groin strain, which he had suffered in the later part of May, throughout the season, even during his gold-winning campaigns in the World Championships and Asian Games. He said he had seen a German doctor after the Asian Games, who had told him that injury was not serious.
Just like in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics, Chopra would not compete in too many events before the Paris Games.”I will take part in selected competitions so that it can fit in the Paris Olympics preparations. As far as which competitions I will take part next year, I will be able to tell in December,” Chopra said.
Chopra thanked Kishore Jena for giving him a tough competition during the Hangzhou Asian Games. Jena won a silver in Hangzhou with a personal best throw of 87.54m in India’s 1-2 finish.