Birmingham: In a huge setback for India, strong medal contender Neeraj Chopra on Tuesday withdrew from the upcoming Commonwealth Games due to a groin injury he developed during his historic silver medal-winning campaign at the recent World Championships.
The 24-year-old Olympic champion would defend his men’s javelin title in Birmingham, where the Games start on Thursday.
The development means Chopra’s long-awaited clash with Grenada’s world champion Anderson Peters won’t happen now.
IOA Secretary General Rajiv Mehta said Chopra had an MRI scan in the US on Monday and was advised to rest for a month.
“Team India javelin thrower Mr. Neeraj Chopra had called me earlier today from the US regarding his inability to participate in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games due to fitness issues,” said Mehta.
“After competing in the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Mr Chopra had an MRI scan on Monday and based on that, his medical team advised him to take a month off,” Mehta added.
According to sources close to the athlete, it is a minor groin injury, but as a precaution he has been asked to rest.
Chopra was only the second Indian athlete to win a medal at the World Championship in Eugene on Saturday night, after Anju Bobby George, who had won bronze in the long jump in Paris in 2003.
After his 88.13m throw that earned him a silver medal in the fourth attempt, Chopra felt some discomfort in his right thigh and his worst fears have come true.
“I thought even the fourth pitch could have gone further. Then I felt something on my thigh and couldn’t do my best in the next two. I had tires (on thigh).
“I will know the status tomorrow morning as my body is still warm after the event. I hope there will be no problem for the upcoming events, Commonwealth Games,” Chopra had said after his event.
The president of the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), Adille Sumariwalla, said they are in contact with Chopra to help him recover.
“Neeraj has said that as he is not 100 per cent fit to compete in the Commonwealth Games, he would not be the flag bearer of the Indian contingent in the athletes’ parade at the opening ceremony,” said Sumariwalla.
“Neeraj seemed to have a hard time during the final at the World Cup on Sunday. We are in constant contact with him to support his recovery.”
The Indian team’s chief of mission, Rajesh Bhandari, told PTI: “We have a meeting later in the day to decide on the new flag bearer.”
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