Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra has been stuck at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) in Patiala for almost two months now due to coronavirus lockdown and despite the difficulty in training, he’s maintaining a positive outlook while working on his technical skills. Also Read - Anupam Kher Takes On Government For Handling COVID-19 Crisis: There’s More To Life Than Image Building
Chopra was attending a training camp in Turkey in March when he was forced to return due to the coronavirus outbreak. Ever since, he has been staying at the NIS Patiala. Also Read - Supreme Court Judge D Y Chandrachud Tests Positive For COVID, SC Hearing in Suo Motu Case Deferred
“The lockdown has made it difficult for us to train,” Chopra told The Times of India. “We do not have access to the track. It is definitely not an ideal situation for any athlete to be in. I am using the area in the hostel for practice. I try to keep my routine as normal as I can and train twice a day” Also Read - Rhea Chakraborty Pens Note On Coronavirus Crisis: 'It fills My Heart To See How We Are Standing Together'
Chopra admits it sometimes gets difficult to not let the situation affect his mindset.
This is a long break for me but there are times when you can’t control the situation,” the 22-year-old said. “As an athlete, I can focus on my training and keep a positive mindset. Breaks do affect the mentality of the athletes, but we have to make sure the negative thoughts don’t affect us. I am sure all the athletes around the world are doing the same right now.”
Chopra has emerged as one of India’s top medal prospects since he broke the world junior record in 2016.
Does he feel the weight of expectations? “I don’t take any sort of pressure. I feel honoured and privileged that people have expectations from me. It motivates me to do well. Personally, I don’t think about milestones or medals, but I like to take each competition as it comes and focus on doing my best,” he said.
Chopra says despite missing the entirety of 2019 due to an elbow surgery, he would have been ready for the Tokyo Olympics had they not been delayed by a year.
“The proof was that I was able to qualify for the Olympics in my first competition. So, while I was short of competition experience, I think I would have been ready for the Olympics had they gone on as scheduled,” he said.