KOCHI: Teenage javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra still carries pangs for not being able to make it to the final of the recently-concluded World Championship. Ranked 12th going into the competition, it was expected that he would feature in the last 13. But the Haryana lad crashed out in the qualifiers.
However, he is not crestfallen. He knows these are minor hiccups that one has to face in pursuit of higher goals and glory. “Performing in a World Championship is altogether a different experience. It can’t be compared with any junior events or diamond league. I could have done better. But still I am okay because it was a great learning experience,” he says.
Back in action, Chopra is now gearing up for the Diamond League in Zurich (August 24) and a German competition four days later. The 19-year-old says he need to regularly perform at the elite level to become consistent. The biggest takeaway from London might be the realisation that he can’t soldier on for long without a coach. Soon after the Worlds, he had voiced his concerns on functioning without a coach.
Chopra had aired his apprehensions about the same in the past too, but his words sounded too diplomatic, says one of his former training partners. “When Garry Calvert was about to leave, we were looking up to Chopra to make a comment. He was the only person who could do that because of his stature. If he had sounded his concerns loud and clear, the Sports Ministry would have taken notice. But he decided not to ruffle the feathers of the officials. That cost us,” he recollects.
The London sojourn, it seems, has brought Chopra to realise what he has been missing all these times. “Nothing can be achieved without a coach,” Chopra declares.
“Who would want to train without a coach? An athlete is just an athlete. It’s a coach’s job to take care of the technical aspects. I am hoping to get one soon. In the two upcoming events, I will be on my own. The federation has told me that they would bring a reputed coach soon after,” he adds. Meanwhile, Calvert, who now trains Chinese team, says Chopra needs to take decisions on his own and move to Germany rather than waiting for the arrival of a foreign coach in India. “Waiting to see a coach coming to India is a big mistake. He needs to leave India and go and train with coach Werner Daniels in Germany,” he feels.
Daniels is a coach of repute and trains some of the leading throwers including Johannes Vetter. National coach Kashinath Naik echoes the same. “Chopra is a god-gifted talent. But he needs to train with a coach rather than going on his own. No matter how talented one is, coach’s service is an added advantage,” Kashinath says. Chopra doesn’t differ with their opinions. For he is awaiting the arrival of one who could catapult him to success.