Neeraj Chopra on the Inevitable Pressure to Defend His Title at Paris Olympics

Neeraj Chopra

Neeraj Chopra, the world and Tokyo Olympics javelin champion, has recently expressed that the pressure to defend his title at the Paris 2024 Olympics is inevitable. This statement comes as he prepares to return to outdoor competition for the first time in 2024.

Neeraj Chopra talks about Paris preparations

Chopra, who is currently training in Turkey, stated that he is in “top physical shape” and “has never felt so good before”. He emphasized that training and competition are not the same, and the feeling of wearing the India jersey brings a different kind of energy.

“I want to be in the best possible shape before Paris. My training sessions have gone well so far. I always lay stress on fitness along with strength and technique. This is the best I have felt in a long time but I must add that training and competition are not the same. When you wear the India jersey, the feeling is different, the josh in us is unbelievable,” Chopra added.

The build-up to the Tokyo Games was challenging for Chopra, who had missed an entire season due to injuries. Despite these hurdles, he managed to clinch the gold medal, making India proud. Now, as he gears up for the Paris Olympics, he aims to be in the best possible shape.

Chopra’s performance post-Tokyo Olympics has been commendable. He has won medals in two World Championships, threw his personal best (89.94 meters at Stockholm), won a dream Diamond League title, and even defended his gold at the Asian Games. These achievements indicate that his preparation for global tournaments is going in the right direction.

However, Chopra acknowledges that the pressure to perform at the Paris Olympics will be inevitable. He believes that managing this pressure will be crucial once he enters the Games Village and starts focusing on his event.

Despite the pressure, Chopra remains focused on his goals. He reiterated that distance doesn’t matter to him. What matters is staying 100% fit, being consistent during the season, and delivering on the day that matters. He is aware of the increasing competition and believes that one has to keep improving.

Neeraj will be facing a new competition in the form of German youngster Max Dehning who crossed 90m recently at the German Winter Meet. However, Neeraj is unfazed by the challenge and believes that such youngsters will raise the level of the competition at Paris.

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