Neeraj Chopra recently withdrawn Usain Bolt from the seated position to become the most featured athlete in 2022. However, the Indian javelin throwing star admits he still has a long way to go to match the on-court performances of the Jamaican sprinting legend.
Usain Bolt won eight Olympic medals in his career, all gold. At the world championships, Usain Bolt won 11 gold medals, two silver and one bronze.
“Usain Bolt is on another level. He has so many gold medals at the Olympics and World Championships that there is still a long way to go to get close to him,” Neeraj Chopra, 25, told his first press conference of the year.
Neeraj Chopra’s greatest achievement is winning the gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in 2021. The country’s record holder also won a silver medal at the world championships last year.
The Indian javelin thrower also refused to read too much of it by jumping Bolt in the charts and attributed it to his nationality.
“He (Usain Bolt) has retired from sports. My advantage is that I am from India and we have a large population and they are happy when I am doing well. They have a big role to play,” he said.
Crossing the 90m mark
Neeraj Chopra is currently training at Loughborough University in Great Britain (UK) ahead of a busy 2023 season.
Last year, Neeraj Chopra came close to breaking the elusive 90m distance many times, but failed. He seems confident this year.
“I hope this new year will put an end to that question,” Chopra told reporters in a UK video interaction. “In Stockholm it was 89.94 m – only 6 cm less (from 90 m). I missed the line and if I could get close to it, who knows, it might be 90m.”
With both of the big events in 2023 – the Asian Games and the World Championships in Athletics – scheduled for the second half of the year, Neeraj Chopra is likely to start the season late again.
“Since the Asian Games are later this year, around September-October, we will start the season accordingly,” said Neeraj Chopra. “Now it’s general training and after a while we’ll focus on the details.”
In addition to the world championships and the Asian Games, Neeraj Chopra is also scheduled to appear in the Diamond League series.