- Olympic Champion Neeraj Chopra was ruled out of Birmingham CWG 2022 owing to a groin ailment.
- Neeraj, who had recently clinched the silver medal at the World Athletics Championships had complaints of stiffness in the thigh.
- The injury also casts doubt on Chopra’s ability to play in the Diamond League.
Indian athletics faces a severe setback as Olympic Champion Neeraj Chopra withdraws participation from Commonwealth Games 2022 which is scheduled to commence in Birmingham on Thursday. The qualification round for the men’s javelin will be held on the 5th of August.
Neeraj had recently joined the likes of Anju Bobby George to clinch a silver medal at the Worlds Athletics Championship with an 88.13m throw. Chopra, the reigning CWG champion, complained of a groin injury on Saturday during the finals of the World Championship in Eugene, Oregon. Secretary-general of the Indian Olympic Association, Rajeev Mehta said that Chopra underwent an MRI scan the following day, and the physicians advised him to rest for a month(IOA).
The Indian flag was to be borne by the 24-year-old athlete at the opening ceremony on Thursday. A decision on the following flag-bearer would soon be taken following Mehta’s consultation with other IOA office-bearers.
Our Olympic Champ @Neeraj_chopra1 will not be defending his title at @birminghamcg22 due to concerns regarding his fitness. We wish him a speedy recovery & are supporting him in these challenging times.#EkIndiaTeamIndia #WeareTeamIndia pic.twitter.com/pPg7SYlrSm— Team India (@WeAreTeamIndia) July 26, 2022
In Chopra’s absence, expectations rely wholely on DP Manu and Rohit Yadav. However, with contenders like the world champion, Peters and Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott from 2012, it won’t be easy. Arshad Nadeem of Pakistan, who finished fifth in the World Championships, will also give a tough competition. Manu’s and Yadav’s personal bests are 84.35 metres and 82.54 metres respectively.
After bagging silver in Saturday’s final, Chopra had mentioned that he would be able to assess the severity of his injury only after his body gets the time to cool down. Chopra also dropped hints mentioning that he would refrain from taking any chances with the CWG.
Neeraj had sustained an elbow injury three years ago which had kept him off the field for a long period of time. Since then, Chopra has been vigilant about it. Following surgery, he ceased pushing his limits whenever he experienced strain or discomfort. He couldn’t afford to risk a second injury after being off the game for a year.
His physio Ishaan Marwaha said that normally Neeraj would keep pushing himself through pain and discomfort, but lately, he has matured and gives importance to recovery ahead of training. He informs the team if he experiences tightness in the body, for example, the shoulders or the hip. Also, in situations where the coach asks him to perform a 90kg squat or a 90 kg snatch and if he does not feel up to it, he gives his feedback which proves that he is well aware of the ways to stave off injuries.
The injury also questions Chopra’s ability to participate in the Diamond League. On August 26, Chopra was supposed to compete in the Lausanne Diamond League. He had finished second in Stockholm and was prepping to advance to the championship match on September 7 and 8 in Zurich. Chopra had said that a Diamond League championship is a crucial objective during the press conference that followed the World Championships.
He had finished in second place to Anderson Peters of Grenada at Stockholm. Etching history, Chopra placed in the top 3 at a Diamond League competition in Stockholm on June 30.