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Birmingham 2022: Huge blow for India as injured Neeraj Chopra pulls out of Commonwealth Games

Neeraj Chopra

Bengaluru, July 25: India received a big blow just two days before the start of Commonwealth Games with ace javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra being ruled out of the quadrennial extravaganza due to a groin strain.

At the recently concluded Oregon 2022, the 24-year-old had claimed silver with a throw of 88.13M to become just the second Indian to win an individual medal at World Athletics Championships after ace long jumper Anju Bobby George's bronze at the 2003 edition held in Paris.

Neeraj is the defending Commonwealth Games champion in javelin throw after having clinched the yellow metal at Gold Coast in Australia four years back.

It is worth recalling that at Oregon 2022 javelin throw finals on July 23, Neeraj had felt a slight niggle in warm-up during the event.

World Athletics Championships 2022: Neeraj Chopra's silver medal in javelin throw glitters as good as goldWorld Athletics Championships 2022: Neeraj Chopra's silver medal in javelin throw glitters as good as gold

"I didn't feel good during my first three throws. My warm-up wasn't good; I felt something in my groin during my throw," Neeraj had said after the finals.

The defending Olympic champion was lying at fourth position after three rounds, having opened with a foul before registering 82.39M and 86.37M.

The Army-man then got his rhythm back with a fourth-round throw of 88.13M, which was eventually the silver-winning effort.

World Athletics Championships 2022: Neeraj Chopra wins silver in javelin throw, scripts historyWorld Athletics Championships 2022: Neeraj Chopra wins silver in javelin throw, scripts history

Neeraj had admitted that he felt some tightness on his thigh after the fourth throw which resulted him in not doing well in the last two attempts, which were fouls.

"I thought even the fourth throw could've gone farther. After that, I felt something on my thigh and couldn't do my best in next two. I had strapping on thigh."

Advised rest

Advised rest

The injury means that Neeraj's much-anticipated clash with Grenada's world champion Anderson Peters will not happen now.

Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Secretary General Rajiv Mehta said Neeraj underwent an MRI scan on Monday (July 25) in the USA and has been advised one-month rest. "Team India javelin thrower Mr Neeraj Chopra had called me earlier today from the US to convey his inability to take part in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games owing to fitness concern," Mehta said.

Precautionary measure

Precautionary measure

"Following his participation in the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Mr Chopra had had an MRI scan done and, based on it, he has been advised a month's rest by his medical team," Mehta added.

According to sources close to the athlete, it is a minor groin strain but as a precautionary measure he has been asked to take rest.

Assisting in recovery

Assisting in recovery

Athletics Federation of India (AFI) President Adille Sumariwalla said they are in touch with Neeraj to assist his recovery. "Neeraj has said that since he isn't100 per cent fit to compete at the Commonwealth Games," Sumariwalla said.

"Neeraj appeared to be struggling during the finals at the World Championships. We're in constant touch with him to assist his recovery," said India team's chef de mission Rajesh Bhandari.

Young prospects

Young prospects

The Commonwealth Games 2022 will be held from July 28 to August 8. A total of 72 nations are participating in Birmingham 2022, where a strong 214-member squad from India is in the fray.

In Neeraj's absence, two young prospects -- DP Manu and Rohit Yadav -- will now lead the Indian challenge in javelin throw at at Birmingham 2022.

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Story first published: Tuesday, July 26, 2022, 14:45 [IST]
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