Focus is on taking one step at a time: Neeraj Chopra on resuming outdoor training

Interview with javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra


Star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra has resumed light physical training outdoors, along with other teammates, after a gap of two months. Cooped up inside his room since March 20 at the NIS Patiala on his return from Turkey, where he was training earlier, the JSW Sports-backed Chopra has been nominated by the Athletics Federation of India for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award. For the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games gold medallist, the initial week has been more about physical conditioning; practising the throw with the javelin is still some way off.

Speaking to THE WEEK about the resumption of outdoor training activities, Chopra said the focus is on taking one step at a time and ensuring all protocols for safety and health were followed. Excerpts:

Q/ It's been a week since you resumed outdoor training. How does it feel? Tell us about the initial workload?

It feels really nice, resuming training on the ground. Right now, we all are just doing mild training, like running, bit of sprinting, excercises with medicine ball and with the bars in the training hall. I haven't started throwing the javelin yet. I will gradually add it to the training.

Q/ How different and difficult has it been to resume training after two months? Do COVID-19 and other health issues concern you while training?

I didn't totally stop training—I would try to do whatever I could do inside the hostel room. But yes, the fitness level has dropped a bit. However, I ensured I did not add weight, kept everything under control, ate with discipline. I was doing a bit of physical training indoors and some running during the lockdown—whatever we were allowed to do. But now, we will use equipment like weights, which we weren't allowed earlier.

It's safe here in NIS Patiala. We are not allowed to go out nor is anyone from outside allowed inside. Still, we have to excercise caution and take all necessary precautions. We have to maintain social distancing with each other. We keep our equipment separate from each other and sanitise all the equipment we use, each time. It takes some getting used to. It appears all safe till now.

Q/ What will be your training schedule, going ahead?

The plan is to wait for normal training to resume and prepare well for the Olympics next year. Before that, there could be some competitions, too. One must be prepared for those. I haven't yet sat down with the coaches and planned anything specific as we are still not doing full, normal training.

Q/ How does it feel being nominated for Khel Ratna?

It feels good to have been nominated for the third time! But, it all depends on the jury what decision they take.

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