Star Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra arrived in Bhubaneswar today along with Shivpal Singh, Annu Rani, Rajinder Singh, and Rohit Yadav to begin preparations for the Tokyo Olympics 2021. The national camp for javelin throw got underway today at the Kalinga Stadium and will continue till the end of the month.
One of India's medal prospects at Tokyo, Neeraj Chopra attained a distance of 87.86m at the ACNE League meeting in South Africa in January to book a spot in the Olympics. It was a strong performance from the 2018 Asian Games gold medalist after suffering a right elbow injury.
The 2019 Asian Championships silver medalist Shivpal Singh was the next javelin thrower to book a spot in the Olympics. He attained a distance of 85.47m at the ACNW League Meeting in South Africa in March earlier this year. Annu Rani has a national record of 62.43m in javelin throw, which she recorded at the World Athletics Championships in Doha.
Hoping to do well at the Olympics and bring fame for the country: Neeraj Chopra
The 22-year-old Neeraj Chopra spoke to ANI about winning the Asian Athletics Championships 2017 in the same stadium at Bhubaneswar. He is optimistic about the javelin throw team doing well at the Tokyo Olympics next year.
"We are here for the training camp and prior in 2017, I won gold here and have fond memories of the event and the city. We are a team of five athletes and we will commence our training in full swing. With our best efforts we are hoping to do well at the Olympics and bring fame for the country," said Neeraj Chopra.
The team had to shift its base to Bhubaneswar from NIS, Patiala because of severe cold conditions in Punjab. Odisha's sports secretary, Vishal K Dev was delighted that the javelin throwers got to train at the Kalinga Stadium, which had hosted the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup.
"Kalinga Stadium, that was recently upgraded as per FIFA standards to host the FIFA U17 Women's World Cup 2020, will host the Camp for the first time, and we are happy that the Athletic Federation of India has chosen Bhubaneswar as the base for the elite Javelin Throw Group, to train for the upcoming Olympic event. This is an important stage and we will extend every support to the team," he said.