The only gold medal from track and field in the history of Indian Olympics has fully transformed life for Neeraj Chopra. Not all for good reasons. The historic feat has elevated him to the status of a demi-god, India biggest celebrity of the moment. Albeit, all the adulation is coming at the cost no athlete would like to bear. The javelin hero has not been able to see the field ever since returning from Tokyo.
Deprived of practice, Chopra is compelled to call off the season prematurely. At a time when the 23-year-old would have been the star attraction at track and field events the world over, he is not ready to compete. The series of celebrations has deprived him of mandatory practice. He is not match-fit to compete at any level.
Chopra, in a social media post, has confirmed that he was calling off the 2021 season, while promising to return much stronger next year.
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“Firstly, I want to thank everyone for the love and affection I have received since I came back from Tokyo. I have honestly been overwhelmed by the support from across the country and beyond, and am short of words to express my gratitude to you all,” he stated in a message on his Instagram page.
“The packed schedule of travel and a bout of illness has meant I have not been able to resume training since Tokyo and therefore, along with my team, have decided to cut short by 2021 competition season to be able to take some time off, recharge and come back stronger for a packed 2022 calendar which includes the World Championships, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games.
“I have been encouraged by all the support to Indian athletics over these past few weeks and would urge you all to keep supporting India and Indian athletics in the months and years to come. Jai Hind,” Neeraj wrote in an Instagram post.
Chopra has also not been able to visit his home to spend time with the family despite being a mere 200 metres from his house in the Khandera Village, some 14 kilometres from Panipat in Haryana.