Have a good set of family and friends who help me stay positive: Olympic champion Neeraj

Express News Service

CHENNAI:  Neeraj Chopra has had a good break following a big season. As he recharges his batteries ahead of another big year, the Worlds and the Asian Games among other events, the Olympic champion spoke to The New Indian Express on a variety of topics. Excerpts…

How do you look back at your season?
This season has been very good. For us, the Commonwealth Games was also a part of our big plan and because of the injury, we could not go to Birmingham. Otherwise, wherever I went, like the World Championships and the Diamond League events, I came back with good throws. Whatever we had planned after the season ended, we went about it. I spent some time with my family in Europe. And then came back and had some quality time with my family in India here as well. Overall everything went well this year.

Where did you go after the Diamond League Finals? Did you manage to go to coach Klaus Bartonietz’s home in Germany)?
We could not go. I went with my uncle and there were two friends and we roamed around, mostly in Switzerland. Then we returned to India. In between, we went to Paris also. If we are in Europe, we cannot miss Paris. It’s a famous place. Even the (2024) Olympics are supposed to be held there, so we thought we must visit the place. Could not go to the stadium (Olympics venue). Went to the Eiffel Tower and we were there for just two days.

How important is this break for an athlete?
Whatever work we have, especially our personal work, we take care of that. One must try to keep our fitness intact. One-two weeks is alright but one cannot stay away from training. We stay at home and look after our personal work. At the same time, we train to maintain fitness. If we take proper rest and go back to training, that too becomes difficult. Even if we go home we have to keep training. We have to keep focus on our fitness.

Last time you struggled to keep your weight in check and had to work hard to shed that extra bit. Have you managed to keep check on that this time?
Whenever I have time, I train. If I think that I have time in the morning, I train. I run on the treadmill at home or do cycling. This time I have tried to keep a check on how much I am eating. This time I am not eating too many sweets and keeping a balance on my diet. We cannot do much training because we have to do other work also. Rigorous training too is not possible because sometimes we may not get the right diet and sometimes you have to go here and there. So, we make an effort to keep a balance between diet and training.

How do you start your off season training?
We will start with cardio and slowly increase intensity. And shed whatever much weight that has been accumulated. Then we will concentrate on our core strengths and then our joints. We will work on our stamina and endurance. Then we will concentrate on strength and technique and start throwing with javelin and medicine balls. Then we will convert that into speed and as we approach competition, we will reduce our workload and try to gain maximum potential.

Are you planning to go abroad for training? I think two countries like the United Kingdom and South Africa are a couple that have been shortlisted…
We have not decided yet, but yes there are two-three countries that we have in mind. Even the US also. A lot of our competitions take place in Europe so later, we will shift to some place in Europe.

(HYPERLINK FOR EMBED: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8x2wsq3_nA)

After you won gold at the Olympics, training in India has become a little difficult as there are a lot of requests or there are other commitments…
If we train in India, there is personal work. There are marriages (to attend) also. So, I end up going here and there. Even if I miss one day in a week, that will upset my training. When you train, we have to remain focussed. When we go abroad, we can concentrate and remain focussed on training.

You have been training abroad. Is there a place that you call home?
Wherever we train, that place turns into our second home. After living and training there for one or two weeks, every place feels like home. Wake up in the morning and train. Athletes follow the same routine almost. Wake up in the morning, eat a bit and then get ready for training and then come back. Whatever routine we have in Patiala, we follow it abroad also. It becomes the same everywhere we train. Room is the same, we go to the ground and we eat and drink the same. We have to balance it. We have to adjust to it.

Talking about diet.. sometimes Indian athletes complain about their diet when they go abroad. I have not heard such a thing from you.
I don’t have any problem. I don’t eat much non-vegetarian food but I know I have to adjust. We have to compromise on taste if need be but we have to eat. We usually have a kitchen where we stay, so we cook food also. Sometimes, we cook dal or rice. We bring yogurt from outside and make raita. We keep Indian food.

Do you cook?
Yes. Whatever I feel like, we cook. If I feel like having dal or rice, I cook. If I feel like having veg biryani, we prepare it. We get salt and if we get a little bit of turmeric, then it’s good. But we manage.

Do you take anything from India?
I don’t take anything from home. Most of the masala (spices), we get there also. We cook in olive oil instead of our oil. We get jeera (cumins), onions and tomatoes, haldi and salt also. So no such problem.

You have been competing against top throwers like Anderson Peters or Johannes Vetter and Arshad Nadeem. How have your relationships developed?
Only during competitions we meet and talk. because even they know that our training schedules are different so we don’t really keep in touch on social media. But we have a very good friendship.

There is a special bonding between you, coach Klaus and physio Ishaan Marwaha. What do you do when you are not training?
If there are any places close by, we go there or we go out to have food. If I don’t want to go, the coach would make his own plan. He loves trekking and hiking so if we train somewhere near hills, he goes for trekking.

Like this year, will you start the season late next year?

We are still contemplating as the season will be long. The Asian Games will be held in September-October and javelin usually is held towards the end. So we are thinking that we would start our season a little late around May or June. It is better to start late so that we can maintain form and peak until the end. So we will sit with the coach and chalk out a plan.

(HYPERLINK FOR EMBED:https://open.spotify.com/episode/1iyXWcAEymcnqijcqKuGe0?si=wsEZv3i5Tf-gBXp9lKkoQg)

Your thoughts on breaking the 90-metre mark.
When it has to happen, it will happen. I am not taking much pressure on the mark. There are good competitions coming up in the next two years and I am sure it will happen.

How do you keep yourself busy, especially when not competing?
If I am at home, I spend time with my family. Sometimes I go out with my friends and go shopping too. If I feel like going somewhere, I go out for a drive. I like driving. Also do some photography.  

You keep speaking and meeting your old friends and coaches who helped you as a youngster. How important is it to maintain such ties?
It is important. I can pursue sports only for a limited period. After that I have to lead a normal life. For that, your good relationships will matter to lead a good life. Everything is not forever. This medal, this sport will be with you for a limited time but after that you have to lead a normal life.

Future goals.
Next year will be very important. I will start training soon. World Championships and Asian Games and championships will be there. In between we will have the Diamond League also. I will continue training for the Paris Olympic Games in 2024. Next two years will be very important for me and my team.

You travel with your coach and physio, do you ever feel the need of a mental trainer or psychologist? Or dietician?
I keep consulting with a dietician and talk about what is required during training. But I don’t follow everything in detail. Wherever there is a need for more diet, I take care, and whatever I feel good about, I eat.  I try to balance between training and diet.

For mental health, there is nothing much as of now. Everything is going fine (laughs). I speak with the coach, I have a good set of family and friends and talk to them. I try to keep myself positive and keep myself strong so that I can perform well. We can seek outside help but when you are inside the ground, you have to keep your mind strong to perform well. So I try to keep myself healthy and strong. I respect the work the experts are doing, a lot of athletes face problems and they help them. Right now, everything is going on well and as long as it is fine, it will continue like this. If required, I will definitely take help.

How do you keep yourself positive? Read something or talk to someone…
Not from anything. I just think about this. When I started I never thought I would be where I’m now. So whatever I have I am happy and I try to keep improving always.

Stay connected with us on social media platform for instant update click here to join our  Twitter, & Facebook

We are now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@TechiUpdate) and stay updated with the latest Technology headlines.

For all the latest Sports News Click Here 

 For the latest news and updates, follow us on Google News

Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! TechAzi is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More