Neeraj Chopra’s targets for 2023: World C’ships gold, avoid injuries, breach elusive 90m mark

M SudharshanM Sudharshan

April 18 2023
Neeraj Chopra

Neeraj Chopra has become a household name in India ever since his gold medal finish at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. He became the first Indian track and field athlete to win a gold medal at the Olympics since its inception in 1896.

The 25-year-old is known for breaking records (precise his records) and currently holds the National Record in Javelin (89.94m) created at the Stockholm Diamond League. The athlete from Haryana has also brought in more accolades by winning the silver medal at World Championships and clinching the Diamond League title (the first Indian to do so).

Chopra is set to start the 2023 season by participating in the Doha Diamond League next month. In this article, let us discuss his top four goals for 2023.

Breaking the magical 90m mark

The buzz surrounding the 90m mark has been among the public for the past few years. Neeraj Chopra came close to getting to the elusive mark last year, spearing 89.94m at the Stockholm Diamond League (missing out by 0.06m).

At a recent media interaction, he once again asked when he will breach the magical figure. Neeraj Chopra answered: “I have answered this question before as well and shortly will put an end to this question. People started asking me this question since the Commonwealth Games 2018, but this time I have trained well to breach the mark”.

Neeraj Chopra
Neeraj Chopra is confident of breaching the elusive 90m mark this year (Courtesy: Mint)

He further explained, “there might be competitions where an 87m or 86m throw can bring in a gold medal so I have to handle the situation and pressure on a particular day to succeed rather than looking for the 90m on the whole.” 

Currently, 23 players from across the world have breached the 90m barrier and Neeraj Chopra will be optimistic about joining the coveted list this season.

Converting World Championships silver to gold

The World Athletic Championships will be held for the second consecutive year and Neeraj Chopra will have his eyes set on the gold medal after finishing second in the last edition held in Eugene. The Olympic gold medallist speared 88.13m and finished behind compatriot Anderson Peters from Granada, who clocked 90m plus.

Chopra has his eyes set on the gold medal. “Last year I won the silver medal at the World Championships and will look to better my performance in this edition,” the 25-year-old said at the press meet. “But there won’t be any pressure in upgrading the medal colour, rather I will enjoy competing and give my best.” If Neeraj wins a gold medal, he will become the first track and field athlete from India to achieve this feat.

Retaining the Diamond League Title and the Asian Games gold

Neeraj Chopra
Chopra celebrates after winning gold medal at Asian Games 2018 (Courtesy: The Statesman)

Neeraj Chopra will be looking to defend his Diamond League trophy at Eugene this year (provided he finishes inside the top eight). 14 Diamond League events are set to be held in 2023 and Neeraj Chopra has confirmed his participation in the season opener in Doha Diamond League.

Athletes will be awarded points based on their performance in each Diamond League event and the top eight (by cumulative points) progress to the final which is set to be held in Eugene. 

The Asian Games is set to be held after the World Championships and the reigning champion will have his eyes set on the Continental event. The Continental Games were set to be held in 2022 but due to the COVID-19 pandemic had to be postponed to 2023. In 2018, Neeraj bettered his own National Record with a throw of 88.06m.

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Avoiding Injuries

Injuries is a part and parcel of an athlete’s career and it has been the case with Neeraj Chopra as well. He missed out on the entire 2020 season due to an injury but luckily with the postponement of the Olympic Games, he got an opportunity to compete the next year.

Chopra did not have a smooth start in 2022, as he was getting back from an injury and had to miss out on a few events at the start (missed out on taking part in the Doha Diamond League last year).

With World Championships, Asian Games, and Diamond League events lined up, Neeraj needs to take extra care and avoid suffering from injuries.

“Preparation is going well. When we were in South Africa a few months back the focus was on strength and conditioning and now we are looking into the technical side. This is going to be a very long season with the Asian Games scheduled for October,” Chopra said.

“Everything is going as per our plan and there are no injuries as well which helps me start the season well and on a positive note…will keep in mind the recovery process so that I will have enough time to recover between tournaments.”

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