Neeraj Chopra was forced to return from his training base in Turkey on March 18 because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Stuck at NIS Patiala since then, with the imposition of the lockdown, the javelin thrower admits there is no training and no holding of the javelin.
“But it’s ok. Frankly, there is no other option. So what is the point worrying or cribbing about it,” Neeraj said in an interview with The Hindu.
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The only concern is the slipping fitness levels. “SAI is taking care of the diet, but strength and stamina have gone down a bit. I am not worried about it. Once proper training starts, do hafte me wapas fitness le ayenge (I can be back to optimum fitness in two weeks’ time),” he said.
With the grounds at NIS out of bounds, the saving graces are the staggered visits allowed to the gym and the small open space at the elite athletes’ hostel. “This phase has not been too difficult except for the training part, which is important for an athlete. Other than that, it’s ok. Food is fine, it’s safe here and the little space we have is used for staying active,” he said.
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“There is theraband in my room for strength training. I do other exercises, core strengthening and abs exercises. You innovate and find ways to train. There is always something to do to stay fit,” he added.
The 22-year-old agreed there could be no planning ahead unless the domestic and international calendars are confirmed. “We will have to restart our training but can do so only after confirmation of the calendar.
“The AFI is hoping to start competitions in September, but before that the lockdown has to end and everyone given time to train. We will have to wait and see when that happens.”