"I took four throws only.....": Neeraj following gold medal win at Federation Cup

May 15, 2024

Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], May 15 : Following his gold medal win at the Federation Cup in the men's javelin throw final, Indian Olympic and World Championships gold medalist Neeraj Chopra expressed that it was nice to compete in India after a long time and to witness such a large group of people supporting him.
Chopra secured a gold medal in the men's javelin throw competition in the ongoing Federation Cup on Wednesday. He bagged the gold with the best throw of 82.27 m. DP Manu, a silver medalist in the Asian Athletics Championships, bagged the second spot with the best effort of 82.06 m. Asian Games silver medalist Kishore Jena, however, could not secure a podium position. Uttam Patil, with a throw of 78.39m, took home the bronze.
Following his win, Neeraj said in the press conference, "The competition was very good. The weather was hot. I had come from Doha. It took a lot of time to recover and travel. That is why I took only four throws because I have to compete once again in 10-12 days. I felt really good playing here, as I was playing in India after a long time and it was good to see many people come here to support us."
Speaking about the Paris Olympics 2024, to take place from July 26 to August 11 this year, Neeraj said that everyone in the contingent is well-prepared this time around and is performing well.
"The Paris Olympics will be tough. This time, everyone is well prepared. Everyone is throwing and competing really well, including in Doha (Diamond League). We have two-three competitions before the Olympics so we will try to perform better in them. All we want is the growth of javelin throwing and athletics in India," he said.
Neeraj also said that if Indian athletes keep competing well with each other and pushing each other during competitions, they will keep getting better at the world level.
On whether he was prioritising a 90 m throw or an Olympic medal, Neeraj said that a medal would always be a priority for him.
"If you talk about distance and medals, an Olympic medal is bigger. It cannot be taken away from you. Records can be broken. I have been working really hard for touching 90 m, it will come when the time is right," he said.
On dealing with the pressure of fans, Neeraj said that he chooses to focus on his own performances and tries to push himself to throw as much as possible without putting pressure on himself.
Neeraj started off in the final with a throw of 82 m. However, DP took the lead with a throw of 82.06 m in his first attempt.
The second attempt by the Olympic gold medalist turned out to be a foul, though he bounced back well with an 81.29 m throw in the third attempt. DP Manu still held the lead, though.
Neeraj took the lead in his fourth attempt, throwing at a distance of 82.27 m. Manu could not gain back his lead as he threw 81.47 m on the fourth attempt and fouled on the next two attempts. Neeraj chose not to attempt his last two throws and bagged the top prize.
Jena, however, was not even in contention for the podium spot during all this while, recording a foul and a throw of 75.49 m, then two more fouls and then throws of 73.79 m and 75.25 m respectively, to end an unspectacular night for himself.
Uttam started with a throw of 75.55 m and attained the podium position at number three after the fifth round.
The starting list for the javelin throw final also included, Shivpal Singh, Parmod, Rohit Kumar
Kunwer Ajairaj Singh, Manjinder Singh, Bibin Antony, Vikas Yadav, Vivek Kumar
Neeraj was competing in his second competition of the 2024 outdoor athletics season. He started his season at the Doha Diamond League last week, finishing second with a throw of 88.36m.
This also marks his first appearance at a national-level event since the Tokyo Olympics back in 2021. His previous outing before this in a national event was the 2021 Federation Cup in March. He bagged the gold with a throw of 87.80m back then.