The 19-year-old Haryana athlete will be seen in action at the Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneswar.
Mumbai: Indian Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra finished fifth in the Paris Diamond League recently.
He rose to fame last year when he threw 86.48 metres at World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
The 19-year-old Haryana athlete will be seen in action at the Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneswar. His main focus is the World Championships in August where he wants to win gold. He has been awarded the Sports Illustratded India Emerging Athlete Of the Year Award.
Excerpts of an interview:
How was your experience of playing in the Paris Diamond League?
It was one of the biggest tournaments in my career and a great learning experience to compete with Olympic and the world champions. I am happy with my performance there and it has boosted my confidence ahead of the World Championships. I wanted to win a medal but... maybe next time. This experience made me realise that I need to work on my strength and technique.
Was the transition to senior level smooth?
The 2014 Federation Cup was my first senior tournament and I finished eighth. I didn’t compete as a junior for many years. Since 2014, I have been competing in senior events. Initially it was tough, but I gradually improved and started winning medals in early years. I was patient and always knew that my hard work will pay off.
Do you have enough ammunition to compete at the elite level?
I have a junior world record and now I have returned from the Diamond League, finishing fifth. I am the first javelin thrower from the country to play in the prestigious meet. And it gives me confidence that I have potential to compete at the elite level.
You threw record 86.48 metres at U-20 level and your best in Paris was 84.67. Do you think you could have done better?
Yes. I can do better. I will work hard and will try to get the 86 mark.
You missed Rio Olympics how keen are you for Tokyo Olympics?
Tokyo Olympics is very much on my mind. If I am able to reach the 85-86m mark, I can win a medal. And if I stay injury-free, I will try to win the gold.
What are your targets in the near future?
Am ready to do well in the Asian Athletics Championships. But my main focus is the World Championships in August. I am looking to win a gold there.