India’s Olympic gold medallist javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra wants to participate in the full season in 2022 including the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, World Championships, and the Diamond League.
The World Athletics Championships, postponed from 2021, is scheduled to be held at Oregon (USA) from July 15-24, 2022 while the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham will start on July 28 and will continue till August 8. The Asian Games will be held at Hangzhou, China from September 10-25 while the Diamond League will comprise 14 events to be held from May 13-September 8, making it quite a busy schedule ahead for Chopra.
If he goes ahead with this plan, Chopra will participate in three major events in three months, which will leave him with very little time for preparations in between because of the travel restrictions because of the Covid-19 protocols.
Having just started training in the United States following a lengthy break after he became only the second Indian after Abhinav Bindra to win Olympic gold, Chopra said things are going well at the camp. He is currently at Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Centre in California for a three-month camp with his German coach Klaus Bartonietz.
“My training is going well and I am getting back my fitness. Initially, it was very difficult and I experienced some pain and stiffness as I started my physical training, but now things are better,” Chopra told the media in a virtual interaction on Thursday,
Chopra had decided to end his season in August considering that everyone wanted to have a slice of the Tokyo Games gold winner.
He had spent the last few months soaking up the adulation, participating in events, and meeting people. He had generally been enjoying his time with family and friends, ignoring diet restrictions and fitness regimen, gaining weight.
Now after a couple of weeks’ training, which had initially been hard according to him, the 24-year-old reigning Commonwealth and Asian Games gold medallist from Haryana feels he is getting back to peak fitness and will will soon sit down with his coach and support staff to plan his schedule in the season.
“I have shed some weight and will be losing some more in the next couple of weeks. I will soon sit down with my coach and support staff and decide my schedule for the season. As all these events are very important, I am planning to participate in all of them,” Chopra said on Thursday.
Chopra said he will try to accommodate as many of these important events as possible in his schedule. He said he will participate in all big events unless there is a very short gap between them.
For Chopra, crossing the 90-metre mark remains his aim for the upcoming season and Chopra said he wants to achieve the feat this season. It is a psychological barrier that Chopra wants to cross at the earliest but the bigger task will be to hurl the spear continuously beyond 90 in the next few years.
However, Chopra said he is not obsessed with crossing the 90-metre mark. “I want to cross the 90-metre mark this season, I am very close to it. However, I am not obsessed with it and do not think continuously about it,” said Chopra in response to the question.
Chopra said the new wave of Covid-19 is not such a big problem in the USA as in India and some European countries. He said he is following a very relaxed schedule in the US and plans to take the booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine as soon as he is eligible for it.