Neeraj Chopra is an Indian track and field athlete who specializes in the javelin throw. He is India’s first ever Olympic gold medalist in a track and field event, winning the javelin in Tokyo 2020. In this article, we’ll look at Chopra’s background, his historic Olympic gold, training routine, and what he is focused on now after his triumph.
Background and Early Career
Neeraj Chopra was born on December 24, 1997 in Khandra, Haryana, India. He had an early interest in sports, playing cricket and football recreationally. Chopra developed an interest in javelin throw at age 16 after being introduced to it at school.
Chopra progressed quickly after realizing his natural talent and passion for javelin throw. He set a world youth record of 77.90m in the under-20 category in 2016 at just 18 years old.
He continued excelling at youth events. Chopra won gold at the 2016 World Under-20 Championships and set another world junior record that year. This success raised hopes for Chopra’s potential.
Key Career Accomplishments
Chopra made history for Indian athletics when he won gold in the javelin throw at the Tokyo Olympics in August 2021 with a best throw of 87.58m.
Some other career highlights and achievements so far include:
- Gold medal at 2018 Commonwealth Games
- Gold medal at 2017 Asian Athletics Championships
- First Indian to win Diamond League meet in 2022
- Holds national record of 89.30m
|Diamond League Stockholm
In addition, Chopra has won three straight national championships from 2018-2021. He became the second Indian ever to win an individual Olympic gold medal.
Current Focus and Goals
Fresh off his historic Olympic triumph, the 24-year-old Chopra is eager to establish himself as the world’s preeminent javelin thrower. His current focus and goals include:
- Winning gold at the World Athletics Championships in 2022 – Chopra aims to be the first Indian to win this title.
- Breaking the 90m barrier – Chopra wants to push his personal best and the national record farther.
- Remaining healthy and injury-free – Preventing injuries through training adjustments and therapy.
- Serving as an inspirational figure – Chopra wants to increase javelin throw popularity in India through clinics.
- Working on minor technique refinements – Smoothing out small parts of his throwing motion.
Chopra continues to train many months per year at the national camp at NIS Patiala. He gets treatment for past injuries there.
Training and Technique
Neeraj Chopra’s rigorous training routine provides the blend of strength, speed, and precision required for elite javelin throwing.
His training regimen consists of:
- Heavy weightlifting 2-3x per week for power development
- Throwing sessions 4-5x per week focused on timing and technique
- Explosive sprints, jumps, and dynamic exercises
- Core conditioning and rotational exercises
- Video analysis to identify minor improvements
- Yoga-based stretches and drills for flexibility
Chopra’s throwing technique generates speed and accuracy through an efficient motion:
- Powerful yet controlled sprinting start into the throw
- Coiling of the upper body during crossovers
- Transferring force sequentially up the body into release
- Active thrust of the lead leg, providing ballast
- High release angle and velocity during delivery
- Follow through focused on balance
This mix of physical talents, refined technique, and competitive drive make Chopra tough to beat when healthy.
At just 24 years old, Neeraj Chopra appears to be on the cusp of becoming the global face of javelin throwing. With an Olympic gold medal under his belt already, he is poised for more history and medals over the next decade.
Chopra has set his sights on defending his Commonwealth Games title in 2022 and contending for his first World Championship gold medal. Expect him to continue pushing his limits in pursuit of the coveted 90m mark as well. Chopra’s star power could inspire a new generation of Indian field athletes.
Staying healthy and avoiding injuries will be crucial to his long-term success. But his talent and work ethic position Chopra as a dominant force for years to come.
In summary, Neeraj Chopra has quickly emerged as a breakthrough athlete for Indian athletics. His javelin throw gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was historic. Chopra is now focused on winning more global medals, breaking national records, and becoming an inspirational figure. Still only 24, his combination of natural abilities and competitive drive set up Chopra for sustained greatness. The future looks exceptionally bright for Chopra to cement his legacy as India’s best ever javelin thrower.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Neeraj Chopra best known for?
Neeraj Chopra is best known for becoming the first Indian to win Olympic gold in track and field. He won the javelin throw at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Where is Neeraj Chopra from?
Chopra was born on December 24, 1997, in Khandra village in Haryana, India. He still trains there currently.
How did Chopra get introduced to javelin throwing?
Chopra first tried javelin throw at age 16 after being introduced to it at school. He realized his talent and began specializing in it.
Who coaches and trains Neeraj Chopra?
Chopra is coached by the legendary German trainer Dr. Klaus Bartonietz. They train together at national camps in India.
What are some of Chopra’s biggest career accomplishments so far?
Chopra won Olympic gold in 2020, gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, 2018 Asian Championships, and 2016 World U20 Championships.
How far has Chopra thrown? What’s his personal best?
In June 2022, Chopra set a new personal best and national record of 89.30m. His previous best was 88.07m.
What does Neeraj Chopra’s training routine consist of?
His training involves weightlifting, throwing sessions, sprints/jumps, video analysis, yoga-based flexibility work, and skill-based drills.
What is unique about Chopra’s javelin throwing technique?
Chopra generates speed through an efficient sequence of motions, coiling/uncoiling action, active front leg, and elite release height and velocity.
What competitions is Chopra focused on next?
Chopra’s upcoming focuses are the 2022 World Championships, 2022 Commonwealth Games, and 2024 Paris Olympics.
How does Chopra mentally prepare for big competitions?
He uses visualization, meditation, and positive self-talk. Chopra also listens to music to find his rhythm and get in the zone.
What challenges has Chopra overcome in his career?
He has overcome elbow surgery in 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic delaying Olympics, and expectations after early success.
How popular is Neeraj Chopra in India?
Chopra’s Olympic gold medal has made him one of India’s biggest sports stars. He has inspired mass interest in javelin throwing.
What are Neeraj Chopra’s hobbies off the field?
Off the field, he enjoys hobbies like driving, reading books, watching movies, exploring nature, and spending time with family.
How big is Chopra’s social media following?
Chopra has millions of followers across platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. His popularity skyrocketed after Tokyo.
How does Chopra give back to the community?
He conducts javelin clinics for youth, donates equipment, and speaks about topics like health and fitness to inspire India’s youth.
Has Chopra ever meddled at World Championships?
No, Chopra has not won a medal at World Championships yet. He aims to contend for gold at the 2022 Worlds.
How has Chopra’s throwing distance progressed over his career?
Chopra has gone from the best of 77m as a youth thrower to 89.30m currently. His technique and strength have greatly improved.
What makes Neeraj Chopra so dominant?
His natural athleticism, elite technique, competitive mindset, consistency under pressure, and rigorous training regimen make Chopra difficult to defeat.
How long can Chopra continue competing at a top level?
Still only 24, Chopra potentially has 10+ prime years left in the sport if he stays healthy and motivated. Most javelin throwers peak in their late 20s.
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