KOCHI: Two months back, when Neeraj Chopra was asked how his training in Germany was going, he went mute. As if he was contemplating what to say. Anything he would say might snowball into a controversy, and Chopra knew that. For he had ruffled a few feathers when he left for Germany to train under reputed coach Werner Daniels. The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) had already roped in Uwe Hohn, who was the first thrower to cross the 100m barrier, as the national coach and wanted the youngster to join him. But Chopra preferred to be with Daniels.
Though on the periphery, nobody said anything. It was given that Chopra’s detractors were silently grousing about the decision. Naturally, Chopra was on guard and rendered an innocuous reply that could bring him no harm. “For now, I won’t comment on my training. I will talk about it when I start producing results,” he had told then.
Now, Chopra’s off-season preparation has mostly ended. Last week, he bagged silver at a competition in Offenberg where he hit 82.80m to finish behind world champion Johannes Vetter. Being his first competition this year, the measurement didn’t mean much. What mattered was how his body has recovered from a groin injury sustained during the last World Championship. And the 20-year-old was pretty satisfied. “When you are back from injury, there is always that doubt. Whether you can pull off the throw without getting injured again. Fortunately, I am okay,” he told Express. Neeraj has punctuated his German stint and is now at NIS Patiala for the Federation Cup to be held next month, which will serve as the final trial for the Commonwealth Games.
Neeraj said the German sojourn had helped him correct his technical flaws. “With Werner, I did a lot of strength training and technical adjustment. I am stronger than ever and my last attack has improved a lot,” he said.
Neeraj had an interaction with Hohn at Patiala’s gym where they talked about strength training. Though he is following Werner’s routine, Neeraj has no issues with taking Hohn’s advise. Neeraj said his biggest challenge while in Germany was grappling with training and cooking. But he balanced it well. “I cooked all my food myself. Roti, rice, vegetable curry... everything. I am used to doing that. But being abroad, I am expected to focus more on training. I did well in both,” he broke into laughter.Neeraj said he hasn’t made up his mind whether to return to Germany or not. “I will decide after the event here. This year is important because of the Commonwealth and Asian Games.”