Olympics-India thrower Chopra overcomes release glitch before Tokyo

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Athletics – 2018 Asian Games – Men’s Javelin Throw, Final – GBK Main Stadium, Jakarta, Indonesia – August 27, 2018 – Neeraj Chopra of India in action. REUTERS/Issei Kato

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s top javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra says he has ironed out the kinks in his technique and found the optimal release angle ahead of the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games.

The mop-haired Commonwealth and Asian Games champion qualified for Tokyo throwing 87.86 meters last year and posted a personal best of 88.07 in March this year.

An injury to his throwing arm and the COVID-19 crisis kept him sidelined for nearly two years but Chopra would be one of India’s best medal prospects at the Games after addressing his technical issues.

“Even at the (2018) Asian Games, I thought it was throwing it too high, which compromised my distance,” the 23-year-old, who currently training in Sweden, told a news conference arranged by his sponsor JSW Sports.

“Another issue was my throw tended to veer to the left side, at times threatening to go beyond the foul lines.

“Every time the javelin veers, it’s a waste of power. If the release angle is not right, you are not getting the maximum out of your throw.

“We identified these areas and addressed those issues. I can already see the improvement.

“If I get it right, my distance will further improve in Tokyo.”

Chopra was happy with his training in Sweden, where he plans to increase the intensity before tapering two weeks before his event.

The thrower was largely keeping to himself and relaxing by listening to music or meditating.

“I also visualize my throws, I’ve already imagined how I’d perform in Tokyo,” Chopra said.

“I imagine the arena and my throws. By the time I turn up, I’d have performed there several times even if it’s only in my mind.”

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