Neeraj Chopra Aims to Recreate Jakarta Asiad Glory in Hangzhou Games

Neeraj Chopra Aims to Recreate Jakarta Asiad Glory in Hangzhou Games

New Delhi - Neeraj Chopra, the reigning Olympic and world champion in javelin throw, is gearing up for the upcoming Hangzhou Games on October 4, where he hopes to defend his title and replicate his Jakarta Asiad success from five years ago. The Indian ace set a national record with an impressive throw of 88.06 meters in Jakarta and is determined to secure another gold medal at the Hangzhou Sports Centre Stadium, with track and field competitions commencing on September 29.

The Asian Games will mark the culmination of Neeraj's highly successful 2023 season. He will lead a robust athletics squad of 68 members, including 35 men and 33 women, making it India's largest contingent for any sport at the Hangzhou Games.

Neeraj has enjoyed a remarkable season, clinching the coveted World title and triumphing in the Doha and Lausanne legs of the Diamond League series. Although he faced an unusual setback when he lost his Eugene Diamond League Final crown to Jakub Vadlejch of the Czech Republic, Neeraj remains optimistic.

Reflecting on his upcoming challenge, Neeraj said, "I still have one more competition, the Asian Games in China. In big competitions, I think it's about mindset; in big competitions, we don't need to prepare ourselves. When we enter the stadium, our mind is ready, and the body is also ready for the competition. I really like to compete with these guys, all are good friends, and we're all competing in a very good way."

Neeraj, with a personal best of 89.94 meters, achieved a best throw of 88.67 meters in Doha this year. His fierce rival, Pakistan's Arshad Nadeem, who finished second to Neeraj with a throw of 87.82 meters at the Budapest World Championships, holds a significant advantage by breaching the elusive 90-meter mark with a throw of 90.18 meters at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games last year.

Neeraj anticipates a challenging showdown with Nadeem at the Asian Games and acknowledges the heightened pressure due to fans' expectations for a repeat performance in Hangzhou. He shared, "I met Nadeem after the event, and we were happy that both our countries are making serious strides in the sporting arena. We were also happy to have prevailed over our European counterparts, who are stronger and very competitive. The rivalry between our two nations in sports will always be there. We will meet again in Hangzhou."

Adding to the competition is India's promising javelin thrower, Kishore Jena, who showcased his potential with a fifth-place finish and a throw of 84.77 meters at the Budapest World Championships.

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