Echoing the concerns raised by his coach Uwe Hohn, India’s star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra has said the delay in clearing his training programme is hampering his preparations for the Tokyo Olympics. Chopra said he has had to look at centres outside India for training because of numerous felicitation programmes here, which affect his training. Chopra and Hohn have approached the government to sanction a tour abroad where they will train for up to three months.
“Our plan to go abroad for training have been getting delayed. That’s one of the reasons why the coach made those comments. We hope that will be done as quickly as possible so that I go out and focus on training for two-three months. Right now, training is okay but there are a lot of programmes happening, which I have to attend. It hampers my training,” Chopra told news agency ANI.
Chopra had a great year in 2018 when he struck gold in both CWG and Asian Games, becoming the first javelin thrower from India to do so. He is considered as one of India’s biggest medal prospects at the Tokyo Games. However, Hohn feels his ward’s needs aren’t given the due attention.
In a detailed email to The Sunday Express, Chopra’s German coach Uwe Hown said that delay in procuring equipment, insufficient support staff, poor diet, and unimaginative planning are hampering the training of javelin thrower. “Because of the very bad support of the Sports Authority of India (SAI), we need help from people or companies who like to help ASAP because with every week, bit by bit, we lose a chance to reach our high goals,” Hohn wrote.
Chopra, however, tried to play down Hohn’s comments by pointing out the cultural differences in the two countries. “My coach, Uwe Hohn is from Germany, so sports system there is different from what we have here (in India). Our country is very big so it takes time for things to happen. Sab aaram aaram se hota hai,” he said.
The 20-year-old, however, said there has been a marked change in administration since Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore took over as the sports minister a year ago. However, he added there is still some room for improvement. “He (Rathore) is doing pretty good things for sports in the nation. They have started the Khelo India project and there is a lot more happening. I hope in the coming year’s things will get better,” he said.