It doesn’t matter which sport you play. If you are representing India, you are bound to feel the pressure of 1.3 billion hopes. And India’s Neeraj Chopra feels the same ahead of the World Athletics Championship.
Last year Neeraj Chopra wrote history in the Olympics for India. He became the first-ever athlete from India to win an Olympic Gold. Since then, he has become a crowd favourite. People are hoping to see him succeed come what tournament he partakes in.
While this has given him the due credit and fame, he deserves. This fame also comes at the huge price of the expectation of constantly performing.
Neeraj has had a great year so far in terms of medals. He has won 2 silvers and one bronze in the three tournaments he appeared in. He even broke the national record twice by inching closer to the 90m mark with his throws. However, this has also mounted severe pressure on breaching the mark in the near future.
Talking about the same, Chopra said in a TOI interview, “some athletes simply accept they are under pressure ahead of a tournament. Others just shut themselves out. I have never said that I don’t feel the pressure when performing on as big a platform as World Championship. Its nature for an athlete to feel pressure… the real deal is to stay calm during challenging situations.”
He further enumerated how pressure can lead to mistakes at significant stages. As it leads to errors and loss of control.
Neeraj Chopra open up about the 90- meter mark barrier
He also opened up about how the 90-meter mark, which has evaded him for so long, can sometimes become a mental barrier. Earlier in the year, during the Paavo Nurmi Games, Chopra came inches close to breaking the barrier. He even broke the national record with an 89.30-meter throw.
Yet, it remained as a so close yet so far moment for him.
Hence for Chopra, it is acting as a mental barrier. He said, “In the javelin, I feel every 10-meter distance is a barrier.” He also compared it to other sports like Long Jump and 100-meter sprints. Each one of them has mental barriers of one sort or the other. And the Javelin throw is no different.
He concluded the interview by saying that he hopes to break the barrier of 90-meters in upcoming tournaments like the World Championship or Commonwealth Games.
The World Athletics Championship will kickoff from 15th of July in Oregon USA. While the Commonwealth Games will take place in Birmingham from 28 July onward.