Lausanne: Tokyo 2020 Olympic Gold Medallist Neeraj Chopra clinched top spot at his second Diamond League event of the season at Lausanne, with a throw of 87.66 metres, on Friday. The 25-year-old edged out Germany’s Julian Weber (87.03m) and Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch (86.13m) to secure his place at the summit at the Lausanne Diamond League for a second year on the trot. Chopra, who earlier finished first at the Doha Diamond League in May with a throw of 88.67 metres, returned from a muscle injury to continue his hectic 2023 season in the best possible manner.
“I was concerned about my fitness and injury coming into the event because I want to give my 100% at each event. In the two training sessions before the throw, I was testing myself out and the weather was slightly unfavourable, so I was concerned. My main objective was to push myself and give it my all at the event,” Chopra said, speaking to the press about his approach to Lausanne
A slow start was quickly put aside in Lausanne, as the Olympic champion eventually secured the honours with his fifth throw. Talking about his performance at the meet, Neeraj said, “It took me a couple of throws to gain enough confidence to strive to do all I can. I kept gradually increasing the effort with each throw. I realised I can push myself, so I focused on it. I also had a quick chat with my coach, who told me to increase the speed of my run-up to throw further, so I did that and was able to come away with the win.”
“I always approach each throw with complete focus, looking to put in maximum effort. Although historically my first couple of throws have been my best, I make sure I am mentally and physically ready to give my all till the last throws. This gives me the belief and confidence that helped me push to the end to achieve the objectives I had set for myself in Lausanne,” Neeraj added.
Chopra, who secured the Silver Medal at last year’s World Championships after a groin injury sustained at the meet, is now gearing up to compete at the 2023 World Championships set to take place in Budapest in August. “My training has been going great, but an injury can pop up at any time. I am lucky to have the support of SAI, TOPs, JSW Sports and the Inspire Institute of Sport who have assembled a fantastic team around me, and try to make sure I do not overexert myself unnecessarily. Their advice and guidance have helped, and will surely further help me navigate the hectic upcoming season.”
“My main focus now is to stay injury free going into the World Championships next month because I want to be in peak physical and mental condition. I will keep pushing myself to get better with each passing competition and if I am fully fit, I can keep concentrating on improving my technique which has helped me become a consistent performer.”, Chopra concluded.
The Haryana-born Javelin sensation has amassed 16 points in the Diamond League this term, and has seemingly qualified for the finals in Eugene, USA, set to be held in September. After the Diamond League finals, Chopra is scheduled to compete at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, where he will look to add more silverware to his cabinet.