Asian Games will be tougher than CWG, says Neeraj

Asian Games will be tougher than CWG, says Neeraj

Neeraj Chopra

The Commonwealth Games gold has given him the confidence and star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra is now aiming to grab another yellow metal at the upcoming Asian Games, which he admitted will be tougher than the Gold Coast CWG.

Neeraj became the first Indian javelin thrower to win a gold at the CWG at Gold Coast last month with a throw of 86.47m but he said that effort will not be enough for a gold in the Jakarta Asian Games in August.

"Winning a gold in CWG with a very good effort early in the season is a big confidence-booster going ahead in the year. Not only the gold but the performance has made me assured that I can do better. Winning an Asian Games gold is my next target," the 20-year-old Haryana athlete told PTI.

"I worked hard to win the CWG gold and I will have to work even harder for the Asian Games. The Asian Games will be tougher (than the CWG) and I have to do better than my personal best (of 86.48m) if I have to win a gold in Jakarta," he added.

At Gold Coast, going into the final round, Neeraj was the clear favourite to win the gold as Kenyan former world champion and Rio Olympics silver medallist Julius Yego crashed out at the qualification stage while Trinidad’s Keshorn Walcott, the 2012 London Olympics champion and Rio Games bronze medallist, had already opted out of the CWG.

"In Jakarta, there will be Taipei's Asian record holder Cheng Chao-tsun (who has a personal best of 91.26m) and then Ahmed Bader of Qatar, who can throw above 85m. So, it will a tough competition in the Asian Games and it will not be easy," said Neeraj, who is targetting 90m before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Taipei's Chao-tsun has been Neeraj's close rival in Asia in the last couple of years. Last year, the Taipei thrower had beaten Neeraj in an Asian Grand Prix event while the Indian got the better of him in the Asian Championships in Bhubaneswar.