Paavo Nurmi could be next stop for Neeraj Chopra

The 26-year-old javelin thrower, coach Klaus Bartonietz and physio Ishan Marwah are already at Kuortane in Finland for training.
Indian track and field athlete Neeraj Chopra
Indian track and field athlete Neeraj ChopraPTI photo

CHENNAI: After skipping the Ostrava Golden Spike meet, Neeraj Chopra could make a comeback at the Paavo Noormi Games on June 18. This could be his second international competition of the season after the Doha Diamond League on May 10.

The 26-year-old javelin thrower, coach Klaus Bartonietz and physio Ishan Marwah are already at Kuortane in Finland for training. A final decision might be taken closer to the event. He missed the Ostrava meet after he felt something in his adductor during training but said he was not injured and pulled out because he did not want "to take any risk during the Olympic year".

The Paavo Nurmi organisers had announced in April that Neeraj would be competing in Turku. “Olympic champion @Neeraj_chopra1 returns to Turku in June and will face a high-quality field of competitors. The goal is to host the most competitive javelin competition of the summer before the Paris Olympics,” the organizers announced on X in April.

According to Sports Authority of India (SAI), Neeraj's training has been approved for 60 days days, starting from May 29 in Kuortane, Finland. His training will be funded under Target Olympic Podium Scheme. He will be there until June 18. He will shift his training base to Saarbrucken in Germany and will leave for Gloria Sports Arena, Antaliya, in Turkey on July 8. Neeraj and team will leave for Paris on July 28 or 29. Men’s javelin qualifying event is on August 6 and the final is on August 8.

Neeraj, one of India's biggest medal hopes in Paris, also confirmed that he would participate at the Paris Diamond League during an interaction in Bhubaneswar after the National Federation Senior Athletics Competitions in May. And since he will be travelling to Saarbrucken from Kuortane, he might not feature in Kuortane Games on June 22. The Paris DL could be the last big event before the Olympics.

Neeraj had travelled to India on May 12 after the Doha Diamond League to participate at the Federation Cup on May 15. Since the Athletics Federation of India had made it mandatory for all athletes to compete at the Inter-state nationals in Panchkula in the last week of June, Neeraj requested the AFI to make an exception for him as the event was clashing with Paris DL on July 7.

The Olympic champion did not take his last two throws after overtaking DP Manu with a modest 82.27m throw and seemed a bit out of sorts in hot and humid conditions. He was also seen stretching and feeling his upper thigh and groin region. The last time he had a best of 82m at an event was in 2016.  

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The New Indian Express