Neeraj Chopra gears up for World Championships: Want to perform without any pressure, distance not on my mind

Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra has been in prime form in the lead-up to the biggest event of the calendar year but the star javelin thrower is hoping to perform without any kind of pressure at the World Athletics Championships, which is currently underway in Eugene, USA.

Neeraj Chopra broke his own national record at the Diamond League in Stockholm in June as he registered a personal best throw of 89.94m. The Tokyo Olympic gold medalist missed the 90m mark by a whisker after having maintained that his goal in 2021 would be to breach the coveted distance.

It was a phenomenal return to Diamond League action for Neeraj as he finished second behind Grenada’s Anderson Peters, who topped the field with a throw of 90.31m.

“I was 6cm short of the 90m mark, I was pretty close. I hope to cross 90m this year. But I never think or focus on distance going into a competition. I just try to give my 100 per cent,” Chopra said during a virtual interaction after signing up with Under Armour brand.

Neeraj returned to competitive action in 2022, setting a new national record at the Paavo Nurmi Games, a Continental Tour event in Turku Finland on June 14 with a throw of 89.30m. With that, he broke his previous best of 88.07m from 2021.

3 days later, he finished on the top step of the podium after surviving a nasty fall at the Kuortane Games with a best throw of 86.69m in slippery conditions.

A strong field awaits Chopra in the World Championships, where he will be seen in action, starting with the qualifiers on July 21.

Besides, Chopra, Peters, Olympic silver medallist Jakub Vadlejch of Czech Republic, Finland’s Oliver Helander and the German duo of Julian Weber and Johannes Vetter will be in action.

“It is the biggest competition of this year for me. I want to perform without any pressure. It is the biggest stage, the competition will be very tough. There are 5-6 throwers who are performing consistently so the level is similar this year,” Chopra said.

“But every day, every competition is different. My focus is just on one thing — to throw as big as possible.”

Also Read: Mairaj Ahmed Khan becomes first Indian to win men’s skeet World Cup gold

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