Javelin thrower Annu Rani wants to keep Neeraj Chopra company in Tokyo

The Asian Games bronze medallist is focused on securing Olympic qualification and also has a personal milestone in mind - breaching the 70m mark.

By Rahul Venkat

With the Indian athletics season expected to resume in September, athletes are slowly returning to their normal routines to be in top shape and Indian javelin thrower Annu Rani is no different.

With renewed energy and enthusiasm to return to the field after a two-month lockdown period at the Netaji Subash National Sports Institute (NIS) in Patiala, the Meerut girl is raring to go.

And she has set some specific goals, the first of which is to join compatriots Neeraj Chopra and Shivpal Singh as part of the Indian javelin throwers’ unit at the Tokyo Olympics.

“Throwing 64m is on my mind first as it is the qualifying standard for the Tokyo Olympics. But my coaches and I believe that I can develop into a 70m thrower,” Annu Rani told the Athletics Federation of India (AFI).

“I have to improve my technique and use my power better to throw the javelin farther.”

With such a long lay-off from training, Annu Rani is not pushing her body to make an instant impact. Cautious, so as not to get injured, Annu is certainly enthusiastic.

Being calm the key

The Indian javelin thrower’s best of 62.43m, the current national record, came at the World Athletics Championships in Doha last year and she had also won silver at the Asian Athletics Championships.

It was the result of ‘sharp focus and smart training’ - to use her own words – and the change in approach was necessitated by an under-par showing at the 2018 Asian Games, where Annu Rani could not throw past 54m.

“I had worked hard, but my mind was stressed over securing a medal,” revealed the Indian javelin thrower.

It was a bad phase for the 27-year-old and her father Amarpal Singh and brother Upendra helped her overcome it.

“I learnt to aim higher and take no pressure. My job is to give my 100 per cent and the results are bound to follow,” Annu Rani stated.