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Injured Neeraj Chopra advised one-month rest, pulls out of Birmingham CWG

Olympic champion and world silver medallist was set to be flag-bearer during Thursday's opening ceremony but ruled out after suffering a groin injury

Neeraj ChopraNeeraj Chopra was set to be India’s flag-bearer during Thursday’s opening ceremony. (AP)

Olympic champion and world championship silver medalist javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra has pulled out of the Commonwealth Games, which begin in Birmingham on Thursday.

Chopra, the defending CWG champion, had injured his groin during the World Championship final in Eugene, USA, on Saturday. He underwent a MRI scan the following day and was subsequently advised one-month rest by the doctors, according to Rajeev Mehta, the secretary-general of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).

“I was informed by the Athletics Federation of India today morning that Neeraj is not 100 percent fit. He had injured his groin and after scans, has been told to rest for one month. Consequently, he will not be taking part in the Commonwealth Games,” Mehta told The Indian Express.

The 24-year-old athlete was set to be India’s flag-bearer during Thursday’s opening ceremony. Mehta said a decision on the new flag-bearer will be taken soon in consultation with other IOA office-bearers.

In Chopra’s absence it will be upto DP Manu and Rohit Yadav to try and finish on the podium. However, it won’t be easy because of the presence of Peters, the world champion and 2012 Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott. Also in the mix will be Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem, who finished fifth at the World Championships. Manu has a personal best of 84.35 metres, while Yadav too throw is 82.54m.

Chopra had said after Saturday’s final, where he won the silver medal, that he would be able to gauge the extent of his injury once his body cools down and had hinted he wouldn’t take any risks vis-à-vis the CWG.

It’s something he has been cautious about after suffering an elbow injury three years ago, which kept him out of action for a prolonged period. Post surgery, Chopra stopped punishing his body if he felt a strain or there was discomfort. He had been out of action for a year and couldn’t risk another injury.

Neeraj Chopra Neeraj Chopra won a silver at the World Athletics Championship 2022. (Neeraj Chopra/Instagram)

“Initially he would just push himself through pain. Now he has matured. He knows it is ok not to train when he has not slept well. He knows there is no point doing a morning session without full recovery. He will tell us if he is feeling tightness around say the shoulder or the hip. If the coach says you have to do a 90 kg squat or 90 kg snatch and if he feels he is not able to do it he will give his feedback. He knows how to prevent injury,” his physio Ishaan Marwaha had told this paper.

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The injury also puts a question mark over Chopra’s Diamond League participation. Chopra was to participate in the Lausanne Diamond League on August 26. He had finished second in Stockholm and was aiming to qualify for the final in Zurich on September 7 and 8. During the media conference just after winning the World Championships silver, Chopra had spoken about a Diamond League title as a major goal.

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At Stockholm he had finished second, behind Grenada’s Anderson Peters. The Stockholm meeting on June 30 was the first time Chopra has finished in the top 3 in a Diamond League meeting.

First published on: 26-07-2022 at 12:37:13 pm
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