NEW DELHI — Champion Indian Javelin thrower and world number two Neeraj Chopra on Aug. 26 said he has decided to pull out of the 2021 competition season to recover from fatigue he has experienced from the lead-up to the Olympics right through all the felicitation and honoring events the 23-year-old attended since his return from Tokyo.

Chopra threw 87.02 meters (285.49 feet) in his first attempt but bettered his record in the second with a distance of 87.58 meters (287.33 feet) in the mega event to pick the gold at Tokyo Olympics.

Chopra said he would come back in 2022 to compete in the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games.

“Firstly, I want to thank everyone for the love and affection I have received since I came back from Tokyo,” he said in an Instagram post

“I have honestly been overwhelmed by the support from across the country and beyond and am short of words to express my gratitude to you all.

“The packed schedule of travel and a bout of illness has meant I have not been able to resume training since Tokyo and therefore, along with my team, have decided to cut short by 2021 competition season to be able to take some time off, recharge and come back stronger for a packed 2022 calendar which includes the World Championships, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games.”

Soon after his return, Chopra was at a welcome ceremony organized to celebrate his success back in Tokyo. However, exhaustion and fever meant he had to leave the event part-way. 

All Olympic medalists were felicitated by the Ministry of Sports a day after their return. The Athletics Federation of India held a felicitation ceremony the day right after. 

Following that, Chopra went down with a fever and has missed all state government felicitations. Yet again, however, he found himself at the Independence Day event on Aug. 15 at the Red Fort.

“I have been encouraged by all the support to Indian athletics over these past few weeks and would urge you all to keep supporting India and Indian athletics in the months and years to come. Jai Hind,” he said in the post.

The 23-year-old on Aug. 26 said he was “disappointed” to see people pushing their “vested interests” after a video emerged showing the Indian athlete on the lookout for his javelin moments before the finals of the javelin event in August.

Later in the video, the Indian athlete finds his javelin in the hands of Pakistan athlete Arshad Nadeem and then rushing towards him to take it back before his first attempt on a historic night. 

(With inputs from ANI)

Edited by Amrita Das and Krishna Kakani

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