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It’s Good For My Profile If I Play In India But There Are Too Many Functions: Neeraj Chopra

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Doha, May 9 (PTI) Based abroad for training most of the time, Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra on Thursday acknowledged that his stardom sometimes comes in the way of training and competing in India.

The 26-year-old superstar, who is the reigning world and Asian Games champion as well, is set to begin his season with the first leg of Diamond League here on Friday.
“For me more important is my sport. It’s good for my profile if I play in India but there are too many functions, marriage functions. I also want to join my family and friends but more than that, I want to train in an Olympic year,” the youngster from Haryana told reporters at a pre-competition press conference here.

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“Before Tokyo (Olympics), I always trained in India but right now I just want to focus on my game. I will train in India later,” he added.
From here, he will fly to Bhubaneswar next week to compete on home turf for the first time in three years during the May 12 to 15 Federation Cup.
He is aware of being a familiar face in India and how his presence elevates the stature of his sport in the country.

“It’s not like cricketers, like Virat Kohli or M S Dhoni but lot of people know me. I go to India sometimes, people know me, which is good for athletics. People know about athletics and follow athletics because of the Olympic gold,” said the athlete, who has spent the better part of the last few months training in South Africa, Turkey and Switzerland.
Asked if he has plans to compete in every Diamond League event, Chopra said his “coach will decide.”

The conversation eventually veered towards the elusive 90m mark and Chopra said he would rather do it than talk about it.
“About 90m, last year I said I will throw 90 and threw 88. This year, I don’t want to say, I want to show,” he said.

“People have been asking me this question since 2018, when I threw 88.06 at the Asian Games. But, a lot of things happened, my elbow injury, the surgery and now I have been stuck between 88 and 90m,” he said.
“I really want to break the barrier this year. Even last year, I had said that Doha is famous for 90m. But, we were not lucky due to too much of head wind. But maybe tomorrow we’ll have a good day,” he said.

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Chopra said he knows the expectations from him every time he steps into a stadium to compete but he tries to focus more on his technique.
“…obviously, it is the Olympics year and India is a big country and everyone expects gold. But, it’s really hard in Olympics because the best from the world are competing with you.
“My focus is to just stay healthy and concentrate on my technique. And yes, if I stay healthy everything will be good.”

There was also a question on his flowing mane and how it is becoming a rage among youngsters who look up to him.
“No, it’s not good for throwing without bandana. You can’t see the foul line,” he quipped while breaking into a chuckle.

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The Hills Timeshttps://www.thehillstimes.in/
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