Olympics gold medallist Neeraj Chopra has revealed that he wanted to give a hug to his biggest rival Johannes Vetter and make him feel "you are the best." Notably, the German world number one javelin thrower made a premature exit from the Tokyo Games final despite starting as being one of the prime contenders of clinching gold at the Tokyo Games.
The 23-year-old, who was one of the guests alongside Olympic bronze medal-winning wrestler Bajrang Punia at The Indian Express e Adda, said that he now wished for his rival Vetter to set a world record when the new season begins. Notably, Vetter has breached the hallowed 90m mark in javelin, seven times this year but failed to make it even in the final eight at the Olympics this year.
But I didn’t feel like walking up to him: Neeraj Chopra
"I wanted to talk to Vetter after our final… but I didn’t feel like walking up to him. When an athlete works so hard to reach a level that he was so close to a world record but then was out of the best eight, I didn’t feel like it was the right moment," Chopra said while responding to a video message from Vetter in which he said he was "looking forward to competing with him, against him."
"After I saw he was ninth after three throws, I went to see the list myself to check. I didn’t believe that someone like Vetter wasn’t in the best eight," he added.
"Please pass on the message to him that I consider him as a great athlete and when he was leaving the field, I wanted to hug him and make him feel ‘you are the best.’ It’s just that he didn’t have a good day. But no matter where he is from, every athlete tries hard. He is very close to the world record and I hope he sets the world record. Next season, I will also give my best and I hope he also gets the world record," he further said.
Notably, Chopra and Punia's medals on the final day of India's events at the Tokyo Olympics made sure that India finished with its best-ever tally of seven medals. While India had bagged six medals in London in 2012, the fact that Neeraj ended India's performance with a historic gold made Tokyo 2020 all the more special.