Neeraj Chopra’s remarkable feat of clinching gold at the Olympics and then securing the World Championships title in Budapest placed him in an elite league of javelin throwers.
Looking ahead, he expressed his resolute intent to leave no stone unturned in his quest to retain these coveted titles. Chopra affirmed that he will go to great lengths, sparing no effort, in his pursuit of success at the Paris Olympics in the coming year and the World Championships scheduled for 2025.
Asked if he can emulate the legendary Czech Republic athlete Jan Zelezny, who won three Olympics and three World Championships titles, Chopra said, “Everything is possible if I remain motivated and focussed in my game.”
“My endeavour would be to defend my title (Mera koshish hai ki mujhe mera title phirse dohraana hai) and whatever hard work I need to do to achieve that, I will do.”
Before Chopra, the iconic Zelezny and Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway had held the Olympics and World Championships titles simultaneously.
Zelezny, also Chopra’s idol, clinched the Olympics gold in 1992, 1996 and 2000 while winning World Championships titles in 1993, 1995 and 2001.
Thorkildsen won gold in the 2008 Olympics and the 2009 World Championships.
Chopra, however, admitted that it would be a big challenge to defend his Olympics gold in Paris.
“It was a big challenge to win the first title (in Tokyo), and it will be a bigger challenge to do (defend) it again because everybody will come prepared. It will be more stressful than the Tokyo Olympics because there will be a lot more expectations than before, even though I have my expectations.
“But the most important thing is to save myself from injury. I need to remain healthy and injury-free so that I can repeat all my titles.”
Chopra, who finished second in the Zurich Diamond League on Thursday, said he was having a cough and sore throat before the World Championships.
“I did not want to say this earlier because people may think it was an excuse. But I was having a cough and sore throat before the qualification round. I was having problems. I am still having problems in Zurich. I will be alright, an athlete’s life is like that.”
(With PTI inputs)