(MENAFN- IANS) Hangzhou, Sep 30 (IANS) The year 2023 has been very challenging for India's Olympic and World Champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra as he competed throughout the year with a groin injury.
But it also taught him an important lesson -- how to manage injury and compete at the highest level. This year Neeraj Chopra missed a few meets but participated and won the biggest one, the World Athletics Championship in Budapest, Hungary where he won his first gold medal in World Championship.
"The year was definitely a challenging one for me as I struggled with a groin problem throughout. But I have learnt how to manage my injury, how to manage my body and how to get ready for major events. As an athlete, I have to be ready for an injury, we participate with some niggle every time. But this year I have learned that I have to be ready to face every situation, for every challenge and do my best in this situation. These are the things I have learnt this year," Chopra told the visiting media at the Asian Games Athletics Village in Hangzhou on Saturday.
The reigning Olympic and World Champion javelin throw, Chopra said he is in a great space mentally and physically for the upcoming Asian Games
"I have struggled with injury throughout the year because of which I could not participate in a few competitions. But I am happy with my overall performance this season as the aim was to win the World Championships gold medal which I managed to achieve this year. My performance was not that great in the Diamond League Finals in Eugene, USA but I am now ready for the Asian Games. I will try and give my best here," said Chopra.
The Indian has a history of struggles with injuries. Last year, he missed the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham where he was the defending champion having won the gold in Gold Coast in 2018. In 2019, he had elbow surgery which sidelined him for the entire season. In 2016, he was sidelined for three months after injuring his back in April.
He said injuries have a greater impact on the performance of a javelin thrower and therefore his aim throughout the year was to remain fit and manage his niggles.
"Javelin throw is a very technical sport and therefore even a slight tightness of the muscle impacts the technique. My body itself tells me what the issue so may aim always is to face that challenge directly and try my best in such situations," said Chopra.
The 25-year-old from Haryana said he visited the stadium and the track on Friday and found it good. He said it is a big stadium and what was heartening to him was that the Hangzhou Olympic Stadium was jam-packed. "It was very nice to see that people had come out to watch athletics and I believe that it encourages athletes when you have a full stadium. I am looking forward to performing at this stadium. Other facilities at the village are all very nice," said Chopra.
Chopra is the defending champion in the Asian Games, having won the gold medal in Jakarta in 2018.
His coach Klaus Bartonietz said Neeraj is well prepared for the Asian Games and is looking forward to it. "He has had good training before and after the Diamond League Finals and will give his best in the Asian Games. He will definitely cross the 90-metre mark," said the German expert.
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