Neeraj Chopra to avoid family, social media during Tokyo Games

Due to appear in his maiden Olympics in Tokyo next year, 22-year-old Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra wants to avoid all distractions during the big event.

By Utathya Nag

Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra doesn’t want his family to be in the stands when he steps out for his event at the Tokyo Olympics next year. Chopra even wants to say a temporary goodbye to social media.

Considered as one of India’s medal prospects at the Games, the 22-year-old will have a billion pairs of eyes keenly following his every move in Tokyo.

But the youngster admits that having his family watching him from the stadium might make him too conscious and disrupt his concentration.

“I believe if I have to compete before family members, I’ll actually feel conscious. That’s why I’ve never invited them to any of my major competitions.

“Maybe in the future, I’ll change my mind about this. But at least at next year’s Olympics, it’ll be too early. 

“If I try taking them straight to the Olympics, I don’t know how that would affect me,” Neeraj Chopra told the Firstpost.

Neeraj Chopra.

Neeraj Chopra's mindset

The 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist also went on to explain how family’s presence during big events affects his mindset.

“I feel slightly uncomfortable with the thought of my family watching me compete live.

“At a competition, the athlete is a different person, with adrenaline pumping in the veins. But when I go home, I feel a completely different set of emotions,” said Chopra.

Neeraj Chopra qualified for the Tokyo Olympics with an 87.86-metre throw at the Athletics Central North East Meeting League meeting in South Africa in January.

While the youngster is fairly active on social media, posting updates and pictures regularly, he tends to drop off completely before and during big competitions.

He did the same during the 2018 Asian Games – an event which saw him clinch gold and set a new national record, bettering his own in Jakarta.

Explaining his decision to stay off social media, Neeraj Chopra said, “Giving regular updates on social media for an athlete is good. But I feel that when you’re experiencing something for the first time, like competing at the Olympic Games, everyone tries to get in touch with you.

“Everyone tries to say things like ‘come back with gold’. Those comments linger in the mind and create unnecessary pressure.

“Besides, in those times, it’s not possible for an athlete to reply to everyone. That’s why my policy is to minimise the use of the cellphone as much as possible.”