New Delhi: Neeraj Chopra’s non-participation in the impending Commonwealth Games (CWG) to be held in Birmingham due to a groin injury he suffered during the recently concluded World Athletics at Eugene, USA is a dampener for Indian fans.
His absence at the CWG Birmingham effectively translates into one medal-less for the Indian contingent that is preparing in earnest in the UK. Plus, his ongoing battle with two times World Champion Anderson Peters will take a hiatus, thereby taking the thrill out of the javelin event at the championship.
Disappointed fans would need to be reminded that injuries are part and parcel of any sport and Neeraj has come back stronger in similar circumstances in the past. India’s ace javelin star had undergone an elbow surgery in 2019 and went through extensive rehabilitation and returned to win an Olympic gold at the Tokyo games.
Neeraj is in for the long haul and his total focus is on the future. He’s not in any tearing hurry to achieve landmarks at the cost of his fitness. He understands the meaning of the adage: ‘to lose the battle but win the war’ and will bide his time to recover and regain full fitness for larger battles that lie ahead.
According to the Indian Express website, Neeraj is mature enough to know the do’s and don’ts. “He knows it is ok not to train when he has not slept well. He knows there is no point doing a morning session without full recovery.. If the coach says you have to do a 90 kg squat or 90 kg snatch and if he feels he is not able to do it he will give his feedback. He knows how to prevent injury,” his physio Ishaan Marwaha told the paper.
The effervescent athlete from Haryana, who was recently signed by international brand Under Armour, gave a big fillip to Indian sport with his bossy throw at Tokyo Olympics has shown a lot of patience and persistence to give his best. He’s not in a hurry to cross the 90m barrier according to the interviews he’s given since winning the gold at Tokyo.
Neeraj’s legacy of producing golds in the World Junior Championships (2016), Asian Championships (2017), Commonwealth Games (2018), Asian Games (2018) and the Olympics (Tokyo 2020) is testimony to his struggle to fight against odds and come on top.
The current break will give the Indian champion time to look back at his recent scintillating performances and prepare better for the harder battles to follow—the main one being defending his crown at the Paris Olympics in 2024.