Tough for Neeraj Chopra to beat me: Johannes Vetter

Johannes Vetter’s personal best is 97.76m while India ace Neeraj Chopra’s national record throw stands at 88.07m.

By Olympic Channel Writer
Picture by Getty Images

German Johannes Vetter has said that Neeraj Chopra, his Indian competitor in men’s javelin throw, has the ability to throw far but will find it difficult to beat him at the Tokyo Olympics.

Vetter, the 2017 World Championships gold medallist, has breached the 90-metre mark seven times this year alone.

Chopra, the 2018 Asian Games and Commonwealth Games champion, bettered his personal best to 88.07m this year and set a new national record at the third Indian Grand Prix in March.

"He (Chopra) threw good throws twice this year. Above 86m in Finland (86.79m at the Kuortane Games). If he is healthy and if he is in the right shape, especially in his technique, he can throw far," Vetter said in a media interaction organised by World Athletics.

"But he has to fight with me. I am looking to throw over 90m in Tokyo, so it will be tough for him to beat me."

Vetter took gold at the Kuortane Games with a throw of 93.59m while Chopra won bronze.

The German said that Chopra was a “friendly” person and the pair had conversations on a variety of topics during a four-hour car ride from Helsinki to Kuortane.

"We spoke a lot about javelin, family and other things," the 28-year old Vetter said. "I am always interested in our cultures, our nations, how sport is going on in different countries and so on.”

Chopra said he and Vetter also spoke about Indian food on the way to Kuortane. 

"My English is not that great but I did manage to speak something about the sport, the technique, our throws and all that," Chopra added.

Tokyo Olympics: Vetter’s first priority

Last year, Johannes Vetter had come within touching distance of the world record of 98.48m set by Czech Jan Zelezny in 1996. Vetter had thrown 97.76m in Chorzow, Poland, the second-best all-time throw.

For now, Vetter said his top priority is to do well at the Tokyo Olympics, and not think too much about the world record. 

The German, who missed out on bronze at Rio 2016, added that a lot of things need to fall in place as far as the world record is concerned.

"Javelin throw is difficult, technique is very tough,” Vetter said. “Everything has to come together. The wind condition will have to be perfect, the surface will have to be perfect and the technique.

"You have to think over all angles, speed, etc. I know I am actually in very good shape, but I don't want to put that much pressure on myself. I just want to enjoy such a high-level competition.

"I just want to see how far it will go and just relax. My first priority this year is the Olympic Games, not the record. But you never know."

The qualification round of men's javelin throw will be held on August 4 at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo with the final taking place on August 7.

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