Who is Neeraj Chopra’s Ex Coach? The Man with an Eternal Record

Uwe Hohn

Uwe Hohn, born on July 16, 1962, in Neuruppin, East Germany, is a towering figure in the world of javelin throw. Despite never winning an Olympic or World Championship medal, Hohn’s impact on the sport during his short yet eventful career is undeniable. Hohn, the only athlete in history to throw the javelin over 100 meters, coached Neeraj Chopra, India’s first-ever individual Olympic gold medalist in athletics, from 2017 to 2018.

Uwe Hohn’s splendour career in Javelin

Hohn’s journey in javelin throw began as a teenager, inspired by a documentary on the 1972 Olympic champion Klaus Wolfermann. He made his international debut in 1980 at a meet in Potsdam, Germany, where he won the gold medal. The following year, he set a junior record with a throw of 86.56m at the 1981 European Junior Championship. He then won gold at the 1982 European Championships with a throw of 91.34m.

However, Hohn’s most significant achievement came on July 20, 1984, at the Olympic Day of Athletics competition at the Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark in Berlin. Hohn threw the javelin a staggering distance of 104.80m, shattering the existing world record of 99.72m set by Tom Petranoff of the USA in 1983. This throw marked the first and only time an athlete breached the 100m mark in a javelin throw.

This record-breaking throw was not the primary reason for the change in javelin design rules that came into force starting in 1986. However, Hohn’s throw accelerated the process as throws of his distance were in danger of going beyond the available space in normal stadiums. As a result, the records had to be restarted, and Hohn’s mark became an “eternal world record”.

Despite his record-breaking achievement, Hohn never had the opportunity to compete in the Olympics. He missed the 1984 Summer Olympics as East Germany had boycotted the games. However, he did win gold at the Friendship Games, throwing 94.44m.

Hohn’s coaching career with Neeraj Chopra

After several setbacks due to surgery, Hohn’s career ended in 1986. However, his contribution to the sport did not end there. Hohn has been a professional coach since 1999. Among others, he has coached China’s national champion Zhao Qinggang and India’s Neeraj Chopra.

Hohn was brought into the Indian setup in 2017. His primary task was to coach Neeraj Chopra, who was then an emerging talent in the sport. Under Hohn’s tutelage, Chopra won gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2018 Asian Games.

Neeraj Chopra with Uwe Hohn
Neeraj Chopra with Uwe Hohn

Hohn’s coaching style was different, focusing on technical aspects of the sport. However, Chopra found that the training plans of biomechanics expert Dr Klaus Bartonietz suited him better. Bartonietz’s approach was more personalized, planning training according to the body of the athlete.

Despite parting ways with Hohn, Chopra has always respected his former coach. He acknowledged that he won gold in the 2018 Asian Games and Commonwealth Games under Hohn.

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