Athletics-India's Chopra eases fitness concerns with gold in Finland

Asian Games - Hangzhou 2022 - Athletics - Olympic Sports Centre, Hangzhou, China - October 4, 2023 India's Neeraj Chopra in action during the Men's Javelin Throw final REUTERS/Jeremy Lee/ File Photo

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Olympic javelin champion Neeraj Chopra won gold at the Paavo Nurmi Games in Finland on Tuesday and while the winning throw was well short of his personal best the Indian said he is happy with his fitness ahead of the Paris Olympics.

The mop-haired 26-year-old became India's first track-and-field athlete to win an Olympic gold in Tokyo and will carry the hopes of a nation on his shoulders in Paris.

Chopra had pulled out of the Ostrava Golden Spike meeting last month after injuring his adductor muscle but there was no signs of any discomfort on Tuesday as he hurled a winning throw of 85.97m in his third attempt.

"I am happy with my adductor now because I could do all six throws," Chopra, who has a personal best of 89.94m, said on the tournament website.

"I will try to stay healthy in the next weeks, because then I will throw my best throws."

Chopra had also missed the Ostrava meet last year because of a similar injury.

"Every year I have some problems with my adductor, maybe after the Olympics I am going to talk to different doctors," he said.

"Initially I wanted to compete more this season, but it was not possible due to my niggles."

Chopra will move to Germany to continue training under his German coach Klaus Bartonietz and is also considering training in Turkey before the Olympics.

"Most of the time I train with my coach and physio, but from time to time we exchange with other coaches like Jan Zelezny," he said referring to the Czech javelin great.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Peter Rutherford)

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