I've learned to channelise pressure into motivation: Neeraj Chopra

Story by  IANS | Posted by  Vidushi Gaur | Date 10-06-2024
Neeraj Chopra holding Olympic gold medal in Tokyo
Neeraj Chopra holding Olympic gold medal in Tokyo


New Delhi

Reigning Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra said he will not leave any stone unturned to defend his gold medal in next month's Paris Olympics as he has learned how to handle pressure and channalise it into motivation.

Chopra made history in Tokyo 2020 by becoming the first Indian to win a gold medal in a track-and-field event with his 87.58m throw to seal the win in the men’s javelin throw.

Ahead of Paris 2024, Chopra spoke with Dinesh Karthik on JioCinema’s ‘Get Set Gold’ and discussed what makes an Olympic Champion, and the pressure he will carry into Paris 2024, while teaching Karthik the basics of the sport.

Chopra is being hailed as one of the favourites to bring home a medal from Paris 2024, and he made it clear that he can handle the pressure.

"There is pressure. The whole country's hopes are there. Gradually, I have learned to handle the pressure and channelise the pressure into motivation. So, we are ready for that, and we will work hard to defend the title.”

The 2023 World Champion revealed how his Tokyo 2020 win and his recent World Championships triumph proved to Indian athletes that they can overcome all mental barriers to become the best in their sport.

"It had a contribution in changing the mentality of Indian athletes. Earlier, we thought that the foreign athletes were strong and competing against them was tough, winning medals or winning the Olympic gold is tough. But now that it has happened, I have realised that it's just a mental barrier.

"Even after Tokyo, I was in the World Championships last year and won the gold again. Now it is confirmed that it's just a mental barrier and nothing else," Chopra said.

After demonstrating the basics of throwing a javelin to Karthik, Chopra discussed the five ingredients that he believes make an Olympic champion.

"First, I think you should be 100% focused on your training and have respect for your sport. Second, your food and recovery. Third, how well you are training and if a proper plan is being followed. It should be hard plus smart work. And then, our family, the people around us, who love us and think about us, they always help us move forward.

"The last thing which I believe is most important, is self-belief. Sometimes, I have felt that my throw has not been up to the mark, until the last throw. But I still believe in myself that I have to do it till the end. And in many competitions, my last throw has been the best one," he said.

Chopra is among the best javelin throwers in the world right now, as the incumbent Olympic (Tokyo 2020) and World Champion (Budapest 2023). He earned the silver medal at the 2022 World Championships in Eugene.

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The 26-year-old has also won the Asian Games Gold medal twice (2018 Jakarta, 2022 Hangzhou) and also clinched the Gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games (Gold Coast).