Asian Games: Neeraj Chopra starts as favourite with Nadeem injured
Olympic and World Champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra faces concerns over wet weather conditions as he prepares for the men’s javelin throw competition at the 19th Asian Games.
Neeraj Chopra, India’s renowned Olympic and World Champion in javelin throw, expressed concerns over the weather conditions as he prepared to compete at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Complex stadium during the 19th Asian Games. On the first day of the athletics competitions, the track and field area welcomed Chopra with wet conditions, raising uncertainties about the upcoming competition.
Overcast weather conditions
Despite a couple of days of dry weather in Hangzhou, the conditions took a turn as overcast skies and a slight drizzle greeted athletes on Tuesday, prompting Chopra to hope for more favourable weather on October 4, the day of the men’s javelin throw event.
Chopra acknowledged that competing in wet conditions can be challenging, but he remains prepared for any obstacles. Reflecting on his journey to international acclaim, which began with a victory in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Chopra emphasized his readiness to give his best, even though this event marks the culmination of an extended season.
The 25-year-old Indian athlete is no stranger to success, having secured numerous prestigious titles in javelin throw, including the Olympic and World Championships, the Diamond League Final in 2022, and the Commonwealth Games in 2018. However, injuries have posed challenges, with Chopra competing while managing a persistent groin injury in 2023.
Arshad Nadeem pulls out due to knee injury
As Chopra gears up for the competition, he was expected to face strong competition from Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem, the 2022 Commonwealth Games gold medalist, who has crossed the 90-meter mark in previous performances. However, Nadeem withdrew from the Asian Games on Tuesday due to a knee injury, as confirmed by reports from Pakistan. MRI scans in Hangzhou revealed the severity of the injury, leading to Nadeem’s withdrawal from the competition.
Blessing in disguise for Kishore Kumar Jena
With Nadeem’s absence, India’s Kishore Kumar Jena emerges as a contender and could vie for a 1-2 finish with Chopra. Jena had achieved a commendable fifth-place finish in the World Championship in Budapest, boasting a throw of 84.77 meters. Additionally, Japan’s Dean Roderick Genki, with a season’s best of 83.15 meters, remains capable of surpassing the 85-meter mark.
Despite the uncertainties posed by weather conditions, the men’s javelin throw event promises an exciting and competitive contest, showcasing the resilience and talent of athletes like Neeraj Chopra.