Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Neeraj Chopra feels that the overseas training stints in the build-up to the mega-event helped him prepare mentally. In the process, he brushed shoulders with some of the biggest international stars including Johannes Vetter, who was the favourite to bag top honours.
India’s Neeraj Chopra created history by claiming India’s first-ever Olympics gold medal in track and field events, after a humungous effort in the final of the men’s javelin throw. As soon as the Indian athlete delivered the throw, he knew it was a title-defining one, with a measurement of 87.58m.
However, the early exit of gold-medal favourite Johannes Vetter of Germany also worked in Neeraj’s herculean task. In fact, Neeraj has been training alongside the European along with other top-ranked international stars in the past few years, which according to him has helped him prepare mentally for the Tokyo Olympics.
"I went abroad after my surgery in 2019. At that point, I hadn't competed much with my rivals, the people I was going to face at the Olympic level. It was necessary to compete against them so that I could be prepared mentally,” said Neeraj Chopra, during an interview with the TOI.
“I managed to play in competitions and also trained, which I feel helped me in Tokyo. I could've trained in India too, say at the Inspire Institute of Sports facility in Karnataka, but the weather at that time was very hot and not suitable for training for long hours,” he added.