Neeraj Chopra’s adorable nickname to ‘hidden talent’, know all about his secrets from the javelin star
Tokyo Olympics champion Neeraj Chopra is bidding to become just the second India to win a medal at the World Athletics Championships, when he competes in the javelin event later this week in Eugene, Oregon. Chopra had set a new national record of 89.94m, just 6cm shy of the 90m mark, the gold standard in the world of javelin throw, at the prestigious Diamond League in Stockholm last month en route to a silver medal.
The 24-year-old finished second behind Grenada’s Anderson Peters, who recorded a best throw of 90.31m. A strong field awaits Chopra in the World Championships, where he will be seen in action, starting with the qualifiers on July 21.
However, ahead of the competition, Neeraj Chopra gave a glimpse of his lighter side. In rapid fire round of questions during a virtual interaction from Eugene on Monday (July 18), Neeraj was asked about his nickname by the host.
“Most of my friends and relative call me Neeraj only. However my mother sometimes affectionately calls me Nijju,” Neeraj Chopra revealed.
Asked about his favourite off-field activity, Neeraj surprising said that it was ‘shopping’. “I don’t know if I have any surprising hidden talents but after my ads some people have started to complement me that I may have a talent for acting as well,” Neeraj said when asked about his ‘hidden talent’.
The javelin star also revealed that his favourite all-time athlete was Jan Zelezny. “Zelezny is of course the world-record holder in javelin event and I got a chance to meet him in Europe as well as have been interacting with him in Eugene as well,” the 24-year-old said.
I don’t fight to win, I fight for excellence, I fight to get better. Gold is the goal, so I put in the hard work consistently and focus on getting better.
Watch me take the next step as I continue to push through the New Battles with New Armour. #TheOnlyWayisThrough pic.twitter.com/W6gaj2iEUP
— Neeraj Chopra (@Neeraj_chopra1) July 18, 2022
Besides Neeraj Chopra, Peters, Olympic silver medallist Jakub Vadlejch of Czech Republic, Finland’s Oliver Helander and the German duo of Julian Weber and Johannes Vetter will be in action.
Neeraj also revealed that javelin wasn’t first choice when it came to sports. “Volleyball was my first love when I started playing sports in my village. We played a lot of ‘desi-volleyball’ with different rules in our village. I have played kabaddi and of course cricket as well, but javelin was the only sport that I took up professionally,” Neeraj said.
India’s biggest athlete also that his top success mantra was not to give up on ‘hard work’. “Win or lose I always get back to hard work in training with the same passion. Ups and downs are always possible in sports and when I don’t perform well, I always try to learn from my mistakes. My biggest competition has always been with myself only,” he said.