Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra was the favourite to defend his javelin title at Commonwealth Games 2022 which he won back in 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia. However, his hopes have been dashed just days before the CWG 2022 gets underway in Birmingham on Thursday (July 28) as he had pulled out of the multi-nation tournament due to injury.
The Indian javelin star developed a groin strain during his historic silver medal-winning show at the World Athletics Championships 2022 in Eugene, Oregon on Sunday (July 24). Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Secretary General Rajiv Mehta said Chopra underwent an MRI scan on Monday in the USA and has been advised one-month rest.
According to sources close to the athlete, it’s a minor groin strain but as a precautionary measure he has been asked to take rest. After his silver medal-ensuring 88.13m throw in the fourth attempt, Chopra had felt some unease in his right thigh and his worst fears have come true.
“I thought even the fourth throw could have gone farther. After that, I felt something on my thigh and could not do my best in next two. I had strapping (on thigh). I will know the status tomorrow morning because my body is still warm after the event. I hope there should not be any issue for the upcoming events, Commonwealth Games,” Chopra had said during a virtual interaction after the event.
Commonwealth Games 2022 update: Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra won’t be participating this season due to injury.
— Olympic Khel (@OlympicKhel) July 26, 2022
Athletics Federation of India (AFI) President Adille Sumariwalla said they are in touch with Chopra to assist his recovery. “Neeraj has said that since he is not 100 per cent fit to compete at the Commonwealth Games, he would not be the flag bearer of the Indian contingent at the athletes’ parade in the opening ceremony,” Sumariwalla said.
“Neeraj appeared to be struggling on Sunday during the finals at the World Championships. We are in constant touch with him to assist his recovery.”
India team’s chef de mission Rajesh Bhandari told PTI, “We have a meeting later in the day to decide the new flag-bearer.”
In the past Neeraj Chopra underwent a surgery for his elbow injury before the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. The surgery took place back in 2019.
Neeraj was brought to the Reliance Foundation Hospital in Mumbai and was diagnosed by orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Dinshaw Pardiwala, and renowned sports physiotherapist Heath Matthews, who works as the head of sports medicine at the hospital. Both specialists said Neeraj’s injury would not have flared up if his shoulder and back issues had been timely discovered.
The surgery back then had forced him to miss the World Championships in Doha in 2019.