India’s top javelin thrower and Tokyo Olympic Games medal hopeful, Neeraj Chopra, on Saturday gave the credit for his string of good performances recently to the support given by the Sports Ministry’s Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS). The Asian Games and Commonwealth Games gold medallist said that without the support of the TOPS programme, it would have been difficult for athletes to return to competition in the pandemic-hit times. Chopra, who will be leaving for a training stint in Turkey later this month along with compatriot Shivpal Singh, posted a video on the Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) Twitter handle, saying that the support from SAI and TOPS were the main reason why Indian sportspersons were doing well on the international stage.
“Their (SAI and TOPS) support and financial assistance for equipment, international exposure trips and help to players injured during competition and training is helping us in a big way,” said 23-year-old Chopra, who set the world record on way to gold during the 2016 World U-20 Championships in Poland.
“They are motivating us to give it our best shot. SAI ensured that athletes could get back to training as quickly as possible after the lockdown and that the ground and training facilities were promptly opened with Covid-compliant protocols.”
Chopra, who holds the national record of 88.07 metres in javelin, conceded that the lockdown had taken a massive toll on the mind and body, but “with the training back in full swing, it won’t be long to return to full fitness”.
Espousing the virtues of patience, Copra said the trait had been ingrained in him since childhood.
“I have suffered several injuring in my career and made several comebacks too, but I kept my patience and focus on the work on hand, and I am sure, it will ensure successful in future.”
He asked the budding athletes to not go after instant performance because that puts more pressure on the body and urged them to “not eat something extra because of pressure of performance” as it could be detrimental to their careers.