With German Johannes Vetter producing the second-longest throw in javelin history in Poland on Sunday, former world record holder Uwe Hohn feels that Neeraj Chopra should get ready to fight the big throws to win the Olympic gold in Tokyo next year.
“I don’t know if Vetter or (Olympic champion Thomas) Rohler can show that in Tokyo but I think Neeraj needs to be prepared to get at a similar level to fight for gold,” said former world record holder Hohn, the Indian National javelin throw coach, in a chat with Sportstar from Patiala.
“But maybe you can win with 86.89m like in Doha (World Championships) last year.”
Former World champion Vetter’s 97.76m throw at the Kamila Skolimowska memorial meet on Sunday, which was just 72cms behind Czech Republic’s Jan Zelezny’s 1996 world record of 98.48m, caught everybody by surprise.
“I actually didn’t expect that now but his technique improved this year to the level he had when he threw 94m in Luzern (in 2017) and he changed the preferred javelin to Nordic which is flying better as you can see,” said Hohn, whose world record throw of 104.80m in 1984 forced the world body IAAF (now renamed World Athletics) to redesign the javelin to make it safe for everybody inside the stadium.
NO MODIFICATIONS NEEDED
With Zelezny’s record now in danger, is it time for World Athletics to think of modifying the javelin again?
“There’s no need for changing or modifying the javelin again. Even 100m would not be really a reason to change!” said Hohn.
Uwe Hohn (left), who is the Indian National javelin throw coach, hold the world record with a throw of 104.80m in 1984. – Biswaranjan Rout
The German felt he could have produced bigger throws with the old javelin in the eighties.
“I thought I’d be able to throw near or even over 110m. It was a bit annoying (when the world body modified the javelin) because I knew that I could throw much further with the old one and wasn’t sure what the new one would bring,” said the 58-year-old.
The implement could be in the focus again now. There appears to be something special about Nordic Sport’s javelins, especially the new Valhalla model.
“I think they are the top javelins for 800g at least, it’s different for 600g. Probably about 70 per cent of the world’s top 10 throwers use them,” said the German.
But it looks like Chopra, the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games champion and the brightest prospect to win India’s first-ever athletics medal in the Olympics, is not comfortable with Nordic yet.
“Neeraj likes Nordic in training but he doesn’t trust them in competitions. Nemeth (the javelin Chopra uses in competitions) is, maybe, more forgiving but I think Nordic is better for great results,” said Hohn.
“He is probably not confident with changing things and he used to throw the Nemeth javelin really good … in Bydgoszcz (Poland where he won the under-20 World gold with a junior world record in 2016).”
That’s probably Chopra’s dilemma.