As Olympic Champion Neeraj Chopra eyes the upcoming World Championship at Oregon, he gave his insights about his preparations for the World Championship and Commonwealth Games. Excerpts:
Q: How is your preparation going for the World Championship and Commonwealth Games? How are you feeling?
A: As everyone has seen preparation is going well. I have already played three significant games, and each of them was successful. I’m in terrific spirits because two have been my personal best.
Q: How much confidence have you gained from your stellar performance in the three competitions you mentioned for the World Championships?
A: It’s been amazing, and I feel confident since it’s not just about making the best throw; consistency has been the key. Having achieved personal best twice has greatly boosted confidence in addition to consistency. But to perform at your best, you must give it everything. It was almost 90 metres, but there were still 6 cms to go, so attempts will be made to finish it.
Q: Even before the Olympics, you did not participate in many competitions, and now you have played only three competitions before the World Championships as you mentioned. So is there any thought process behind having fewer contests?
A: There were fewer competitions until recently and I took part in the major competitions in June. Due to the delayed start of the Asian Games, which will take place at the end of September, we had planned to play in the Doha Diamond League as well. After that, we might have also played in Ostrava. We chose fewer competitions so that we could play them all because several competitions are coming up, including the World Championships, Common Wealth Games, and Asian Games. Only these two are the subject of attention now that the Asian Games have been postponed. Although we didn’t specifically intend to play in fewer competitions, we did anticipate starting a little later due to the Asian Games.
Q: You’ve been in Chula Vista for a long time. You largely engaged in outdoor training following the Olympics. What would you like to say about Chula Vista training in terms of the environment there that suits you?
A: The answer is yes, it’s a beautiful day here. The amenities and meals are both excellent. I’m very grateful that the government and federation were able to complete all of this and set up a pre-camp here before the World Championships. Since there is a significant time difference between India and here, it is preferable to begin our physical preparation here early so that we can become used to the local climate and disasters. The training was excellent, and the camp itself was excellent.
Q: How do you approach a major competition like the World Championship?
A: The mentality is to just go play freely and give your all, just like in Tokyo. I want to mention something that I learned about from the previous World Championship and am currently following. My first senior-level tournament was the London World Championships in 2017, so I didn’t have a lot of experience going into the qualification stage.
I initially believed that we would reach the qualifying objective of 83 metres, but afterwards I realised that we should give it our all and remain fully concentrated during the qualifying round. The focus is to give our best and not bother much on the distance.
Q: How do you envision your rivalry developing as the World Championships approach? What do you think of the world championship competitors?
A: As you have seen in numerous competitions where the mark remains above 89, a lot of players are competing, and Anderson Peters consistently performs admirably. Since Andreas Hoffmann has also made a comeback, there should be a fierce battle for the javelin.
Q: Neeraj are there any specific tactics that needs to be discussed with the coach for a certain rival?
A: My instructor strives to enhance my performance regardless of how far the competitor throws the javelin. They don’t adopt other people’s technology, we focus on improving our own technique.
Q:This time, there is a lot of excitement surrounding Team India. How do you feel about practising alongside other Indian athletes, and how is the atmosphere of the Indian squad in Chula Vista?
A: The complete Indian team is present, and it is wonderful to play with the team once again. There have also been sessions, so I exercised with Rohit occasionally and once with Manu. You obviously enjoy working with the jumpers and sprinters. In the same way, as there is a team from Ukraine and there were teams from many other countries, there are teams from other nations as well.
Q: Given that Rohit and you will be seen together this year, what motivation or advice do you have for him as he prepares to compete in his first world championship?
A: I’m just telling him to give the best in the qualification round itself and not to worry about the strain of distance. In 2016, I had a range of 82.23 metres, but at the World Juniors, I significantly improved, throwing up to 86.48 metres. I, therefore, advised him to give his best because you never know and the outcome may be very good.
Q: Manu will be in your company at the Commonwealth Games; how have you found him to be?
A: I met Manu in ASI Pune, a decent boy and he would have likely qualified for the World Championships but may have missed due to the ranking. But it is wonderful that it will be available in Commonwealth and has an excellent 84+ range.
Q: We spectators are unaware of who is speaking on the TV or in the live stream during javelin competitions. What then transpires between athletes during major competitions?
A: Although we generally don’t talk much, if someone throws well, everyone is happy for him. Talk is rare throughout the game, but sometimes we talk to each other when we are away from the competition.
Q: The CWG and the World Championships are just around the corner. Is this the first time in your professional life that two such significant events have coincided?
A: No, this is very likely the first time two significant tournaments have occurred within two weeks. However, I have been in such situation before, like in 2018 there was just two days gap between the Asian games in Jakarta and Diamond League match in Zurich.
Q: Describe your competition day schedule and how it differs from the other training days. And since Tokyo, has anything changed?
A: The weather is constantly changing as we move about. We used to start the warm-up a little later in Tokyo because of the heat, and we have to warm up for longer duration in Europe because of the chilly weather. Rest and rehabilitation continue to receive more attention, and a healthy diet is compulsory. We unwind before the competition because the training is already complete. More focus is placed on the diet on the day of the competition, and more carbohydrates are consumed.
Q: You gained a lot of fame following the Olympics; how are you keeping that fame and the consistency of your online presence?
A: The task at hand becomes simple if we maintain our attention on it. I won’t be able to complete the training correctly if I am thinking about anything else. Living in the present is advantageous.
Q: Do you experience pressure that you must now behave only in a particular way because everyone in the world is watching everything you do?
A: The answer is that there is a camera phobia now. We used to dance with friends earlier whenever we could. That dance video is currently quite popular. However, there is currently some hesitancy; unlike before, we are unable to dance as freely as we once did since we must now be cautious that video is not being produced.
Q: Is there a reason why your best throws tend to come in the first rounds?
A: The effort is always that if I start giving it my all on the first throw, I will continue to do the same. Sometimes it starts well, and other times we don’t even get a solid throw. I believe we should throw consistently from the beginning to the end.
Q: You have inspired lots of athletes. Do you feel any pressure knowing that people are looking to you as a leader after the Tokyo Olympics? Do you also inspire young athletes by talking to them?
A: It will be more enjoyable to walk beside others than to take the lead. I’m glad that other athletes continue to affirm that if Neeraj can triumph, then so can we. If it is due to me that others now believe in him, I count myself as really fortunate.
Q: We’ve seen on social media that your coach Klaus is very funny, so what do you talk about with him? What are they doing to prepare for the big competition, and what do they want to get out of you?
A: When I ask my coach for advice or what the objective should be, he responds calmly, “why are you taking stress, enjoy”. It merely states to throw on the proper line and to attempt a perfect toss. He greatly inspires me.
Q: Neeraj do you do any rituals or routines before a game because you’re superstitious?
A: No, it isn’t at all like that. I used to always wear the same T-shirt in competitions back when I had one that I felt at ease wearing. However, all contestants are now required to wear unique attire. Superstition is not involved.
Q: What would you like to say to all the Indian fans who are now following the athletes through the media?
A: I simply want to urge everyone who has their hands folded to support Team India as they compete in the World Championship. You must watch and support us if it happens live. I hope we succeed here and continue to support at the Commonwealth Games too. So I’m hoping that by working hard, we can succeed. You should also make an effort to get your kids involved in sports.
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Four games win hearts, disappointment in weightlifting and squash
This time, a total of 16 medals, including seven gold were lost due to the non-availability of shooting events in the CWG. It was largely compensated by wrestling, badminton, table tennis, Para Powerlifting, lawn ball, cricket, hockey, athletics, and judo. India’s number of gold medals increased in the first four games compared to the last CWG held at Gold Coast. India won gold and a bar of silver in the lawn bowl in which not a single medal was won before. In hockey, both the teams returned empty-handed last time but this time the men’s team won a silver, and the women’s team won a medal after 16 years. In cricket, the Indian women’s team could not win gold after defeating Australia as they lost the last eight wickets for 34 runs but beating England in the SF was an achievement. Judo was not their last time, India won three medals including two gold in Judo. The personal best performance of many players in athletics proved that India’s preparations are on the right track because of the Paris Olympics.
Despite all this, weightlifters and squash players disappointed. The boxers equalled last time’s three gold medals but they got only one silver means two silvers less than last time. Mirabai Chanu, Jeremy Lalrinnunga, and Achinta Sheuli, did win gold medals in weightlifting, and they broke snatch games record but the rest of the weightlifters could neither break the national record nor give personal best. Most of these weightlifters could not even repeat their performance in the National Championship. Poonam Yadav, who won gold last time in 69 kg, failed in all three clean and jerk attempts, it is a matter of mystery. In TT, Achanta Sharath Kamal proved that age is just a number. The player was once weak in the backhand, but he made it his strength, winning a total of seven golds in 16 years. His biggest quality is to play his strategy according to the opposition player.
In athletics, however, the situation was quite the opposite. In a ten km walk, Priyanka Goswami and Sandeep won medals in their respective categories with PB performances. In the 3000m steeplechase, Avinash Sawale clocked a PB performance to outdo a Kenyan in medals and very near to the other Kenyan who won the gold medal by a fraction of a second. Gold medalist Eldhose Paul and silver-winner Abdulla Aboobacker won the triple jump gold and silver & broke the 17-meter barrier. For all the athletes including Murali Sreeshankar in the long jump, the World Championships held recently formed the base of their medals. Murli, who was performing lighter than the qualifying competition in the final, corrected his mistake and got the silver, but Seema Poonia and Navjeet Dhillon, who won silver and bronze at Gold Coast were almost four to five meters lesser this time. Both have shown that their preparations are going in the opposite direction. Two silvers in squash narrowed us down to two bronzesthis time.
In wrestling, only Canadian and Nigerian wrestlers were challenged as usual and Indian wrestlers managed to bag all the medals like the last time, which includes six golds i.e., one more gold than last time. Vinesh Phogat continued to create history in women’s wrestling by winning her third gold while emerging Naveen proved to be a new sensation in 74kg. Some players gave a befitting reply to their federations with their excellent performance. Judoka Tulika Maan was not considered for selection in the judo team. Even the federation said that there is no hope of a medal in the highest weight category of women, but Tulika won the silver.
Similarly, Tejaswin Shankar had to take refuge in the court to participate in these games. His name was rejected saying that he had not participated in the National Championship, arguing that he was participating in a competition in the US at the same time. Eventually, this player made 2.22 m in the high jump. He won the bronze medal. In lawn ball, women from other sports showed that if there is scope, there is nothing wrong with changing the game. When Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore won the Olympic medal, he emphasized this the most because he too was once among the cricket potential players of Madhya Pradesh.
What Sports Are The Most Frequently Bet On?
Betting on sports is a vast industry making up over 30% of the entire gambling industry. If we take a look at what this might look like in numbers, around 500 billion dollars is used for gambling around the world each year. This means that approximately 150 billion dollars are spent on sports betting annually, which shows just how big a market it is.You are probably wondering what sports are most frequently bet on throughout the year. Here is a list of some of the most popular sports that people tend to bet on the most. We will take a look at whether it is because people just enjoy watching and betting on their favorite sport or whether a specific sport gives you an advantage while betting.
In the USA, American Football is without a doubt the number one sport that people both love to play and watch. The NFL has some of the most diehard fans of any sport, and people follow the game like a religion. With huge tournaments such as the super bowl, which attract attention from all around the world, it is no surprise that American Football is one of the most popular sports when it comes to betting.Another reason that people love to bet on American Football is the variety of leagues that are available to bet on. People can bet on college football all the way up to the NFL, which means there isn’t a shortage of teams to rally behind and place bets on. They can also choose to bet on live games or make predictions before they start. More options mean more opportunities to place all kinds of bets on different teams, which adds to the popularity of this sport in the gambling scene.
Soccer is the biggest sport in the world with the largest number of people playing it globally. It is then no surprise that it is also a huge sport when it comes to placing bets. With the advancement of technology, the types of bets that people can place on soccer matches have progressed over the years. The most noticeable type of bet that has caused sports betting within soccer to skyrocket is the ability to cash out early. This type of betting has made watching soccer a lot more exciting as people have to be paying extra attention to the screen to decide whether they want to get out of the bet or stay in for the maximum gain.In the UK alone, it is estimated that a mind-blowing 1 billion pounds are spent on soccer bets each year. Soccer as a sport has also only gone up in popularity over the last few years with the American soccer league, MLS, gaining a lot of attention. Although it is a long way from being as popular as American football, soccer in the US appears to be gaining a lot more traction and fans from around the world. For this reason, it is easy to see that soccer is going nowhere anytime soon, and the interest in betting on the sport will likely only increase.
For those that are unaware, horse racing was the number one sport for betting for the longest time. This may not still be the case however, horse racing still plays a massive part in the sports gambling world, with an estimated 100 billion dollars being spent betting on the sport each year. In addition to this, horse racing is the only sport where you can actually bet on it at all times of the day.Horse racing is a huge day out for many people who save part of their earnings to spend betting on horses in the hopes of winning big. This may come as a big surprise, but Japan actually has the biggest horse racing market, with the United Kingdom following behind and then Australia behind them.
The number three spot when it comes to sports most frequently bet on is tennis. You might not have expected this but there are some reasons why this is the case. The first being that placing bets on tennis is considered relatively safe due to the odds being fairly low. For example, if one of the top players, such as Rafael Nadal, is scheduled to play against a player who is not considered very strong, it is a relatively safe bet to place on Nadal winning.
HUMPY, SACHDEV, KULKARNI GIVE INDIA LEAD IN WOMEN’S SECTION AT 44TH CHESS OLYMPIAD
Koneru Humpy, Tania Sachdev and Bhakti Kulkarni scored victories as India A pulled off a 3.5-0.5 win against Kazakhstan to emerge as sole leader in the women’s section after ninth round of 44th Chess Olympiad in Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu on Monday.
Top-seed India A were given a winning start in the penultimate round by Humpy when she outperformed Zhansaya Abdumalik. R Vaishali, on the other hand, had to share points against Bibisara Assaubayeva before Sachdev and Kulkarni tilted the result of the match in India’s favour after securing wins over Xeniya Balabayeva and Guliskhan Nakhbayeva in their respective games.
With just one more round remaining, India A have grabbed the leading spot with 17 points while Poland, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine are jointly holding the second position with 16 points each.
India B and India C also notched up identical 3-1 wins in their respective Round 9 matches. While India B defeated the Netherlands with Padmini Rout, Mary Ann Gomes and Divya Deshmukh scoring victories, India C thrashed Sweden. PV Nandhidhaa and Pratyusha Bodda scored victories for India C whereas Eesha Karavade and M Varshini Sahiti settled for draws.
THE GREAT INDIA RUN ENTERS PUNJAB, RUNNERS REACH DINANAGAR
The Kashmir leg of the Great India Run culminated today with 11 runners entering Punjab on Tuesday evening. The runners have started their run from Mansar Lake and reached Dinanagar covering a distance of 89kms. The runners reached Dinanagar via Samba, Keediyan Gandiyal Bridge and Aman Bhalla College.
After a night halt, they will start their journey tomorrow to DAV College, Hoshiarpur via Mukerian. The Kashmir leg saw the runners complete a total distance of 255kms running through iconic locations including Bahihal, Patnitop and Mansar Lake.
The relay-run will cover 829 kilometers across 4 states from Srinagar to New Delhi from August 5 to August 15. The run is being organize to celebrate the 75th Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav and the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign. An initiative of iTV & iTV Foundation, the run builds on the success of the first chapter of the Great India Run held in 2016.
The Flag-off in Srinagar was done by Shri Manoj Sinha, L-G J&K and Shri Kartik Sharma, Rajya Sabha MP from Lal Chowk, Srinagar. In support of the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign, the L-G handed the lead runner a national flag after unfurling it at the venue. The first leg of the run is being led by Arun Bhardwaj, an Ultra-marathon runner.
The run venue was decorated with 75 Indian tricolours to mark 75 years of Independence. The route covers Banihal, Patnitop, Mansar Lake, Dinanagar, Hoshiarpur, Rupnagar, Ambala Cantt. finally culminating in Delhi on August 15. Full details of the route are available at the twitter handle @TGIR2022. Daily coverage of the run will also be visible on national TV and the national press. The culmination ceremony will be held in New Delhi on August 15th with Union Minister Jitendra Singh as Chief Guest.
India announce squad for Asia Cup 2022; Bumrah ruled out
The All-India Senior Selection Committee on Monday announced the 14-members squad for the upcoming Asia Cup. The much-anticipated Asia Cup cricket tournament will take place from August 27 this year. The 15th edition of the tournament will be played in the UAE between six teams (main event). Defending champions India are also the most successful team, having won the trophy seven times. While the last edition of the tournament was held in an ODI format, this edition will feature the T20 format.
The six teams are divided into two groups with India, Pakistan and a qualifying team in Group A; and Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan forming Group B. Each team plays the other once in the group stage with the top two teams from each group advancing to the Super 4 round. The top 2 teams from Super 4 will qualify for the final.
India’s squad for Asia Cup: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh and Avesh Khan.
The star pacer of India Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel were not available for selection owing to injuries. They are currently undergoing rehab at the NCA in Bengaluru.
Three players – Shreyas Iyer, Axar Patel and Deepak Chahar have been named as standbys.
Tennis legend Serena Williams announces retirement
American legend Serena Williams, winner of 23 Grand Slam titles, announced her retirement from tennis on Tuesday, saying she is “evolving away” from the sport. The 40-year-old tennis star said that the best word to describe what she is up to is “evolution” and that she wants to grow her family. “I have never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me. I’ve been thinking of this as a transition, but I want to be sensitive about how I use that word, which means something very specific and important to a community of people,” Serena said in an article for Vogue magazine. Earlier this year, she was knocked out at Wimbledon in her first singles match. However, she has now set her eyes on the US Open in what could prove her farewell tournament.
“Unfortunately I wasn’t ready to win Wimbledon this year. And I don’t know if I will be ready to win New York. But I’m going to try. And the lead-up tournaments will be fun,” she said in the Vogue interview. She has been ranked singles world number one by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) for 319 weeks, including a joint-record 186 consecutive weeks.
She also finished as the year-end number one five times. Serena has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, the most by any player in the open era, and the second-most of all time, only behind Margaret Court’s 24.
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