CHENNAI: In a big setback for India, javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra has pulled out of the Commonwealth Games due to injury. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics champion was forced to give the quadrennial Games a miss due to abductor strain, considered a common groin injury among athletes. He sustained it during the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday.
Neeraj was supposed to leave for Birmingham on Sunday for the multi-discipline event but he had to postpone his departure and instead went for an MRI. Neeraj had said after the silver medal at the Worlds that he strained his right thigh after the throw in the fourth attempt. "I had a thigh strain after the fourth round and so I used a strap," he had said. After the fourth attempt, he could not match his 88.13m (fourth attempt) in the following throws. Neeraj is the defending champion at the CWG and was supposed to be India's flag-bearer.
Neeraj and the team, including coach Klaus Bartonietz and Ishaan Marwaha, are still in the US, rescheduling their tickets and plan. They would, however, will not come to India as of now. Instead, they are looking at a place in Belgium or Germany for the Indian star to consult an expert and start his rehabilitation process. Anderson Peters, his rival and competitor from Grenada, who bettered him at the Worlds for the gold, is still in the fray.
If insiders are to be believed, Neeraj doesn't want to take the risk because there is hardly any time for him to recover fully. The javelin throw final is on August 7. With some important Diamond League events and the Asian Games and Athletics World Championships scheduled next year, it is prudent to not risk much at the CWG. The 24-year-old is now planning to continue rehabilitation and training in Europe. The destination will be decided soon.
Manisha Malhotra, who is working closely with Neeraj and his team, confirmed that the Haryana ace, as things stand, would be looking to consult doctors in Germany or Belgium. "We are looking for specialists and hopefully get an appointment," Manisha, who heads JSW's sports excellence programme, said from Germany.
The team is hoping to participate in the Lausanne Diamond League on August 26. A final call on the same will be taken later after consulting the doctors. Neeraj is eager to qualify and participate in the Diamond League Finale in Zurich in September (7-8). This is one trophy that is missing from his rich cabinet.