‘Neeraj is the perfect role model’

Dr. Bartonietz says the pandemic gave them enough time to iron out the creases in Chopra.   | Photo Credit: AP

Neeraj Chopra may be India’s brightest Olympic hope, but the stardom sits easy on the javelin thrower. His coach insists it is just one of the factors that make him an ideal role model.

“Neeraj can be the perfect role model. He is not jealous and he is not insecure of his own form or position. He never says no to anyone for help.

One of the best

“He is also one of the best all-round athletes here and one of the hardest working people. What more can you ask for?” says Dr. Klaus Bartonietz, the bio-mechanical expert in charge of Chopra for the last two years.

Bartonietz took charge in 2019, at a time when the youngster was going through a testing time with his injury and subsequent surgery which forced him to forego competitions for the entire year.

With 2020 marred with COVID, there was little opportunity to test him against the best in the world. But it gave them enough time to iron out the creases and push him towards the elusive 90m mark.

“We had a very good general preparation in the last three months. We worked in the gymnastic hall with parallel bars, high bars, rope climbing and all such things, did a lot of systematic strength training.

In the last two years we have worked on things like improving the use of the javelin, no unnecessary attack, the angles which you let the javelin fly and the importance and impact of air resistance,” Bartonietz told The Hindu.

What makes Neeraj different, he said, was his athleticism. “His athleticism is at world level. He is the best overall athlete — on the track in sprints, jumps, lifting, gymnastic work for flexibility and athleticism, core work, everything. He is also the most creative towards his own training.

“He is always reflecting on his position and takes the initiative to bring his own ideas into his training. There is a clarity of thought on what he wants to do,” Bartonietz explained.

Asked if he can cross the 90m mark, Bartonietz insisted he could.

“Maybe he throws 90m at the next competition, that is possible. Honestly, it isn’t anything spectacular you need to do. It is all about daily hard and smart work, removing shortcomings, working on strong sides, staying healthy.”

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 8:19:08 PM |

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