Potchefstroom [South Africa], January 29 (ANI): Star India javelin thrower and Olympic gold medalist Neeraj Chopra held an interaction with the Indian Women's U19 team ahead of the T20 World Cup final against England and motivated the side to give their best in the summit clash.
India will take on England in the ICC U19 Women's T20 World Cup final in Potchefstroom on Sunday.
Neeraj said that the players should focus on enjoying the game and not taking too much pressure.
"Enjoy your game and give your 100 per cent. Listen to what your coaches say. Do not take any stress," said Neeraj in a video posted by ICC.
Neeraj recalled his humble beginnings, which saw him leave his village and country for his sport many times to represent India at international level.
"You also have this opportunity to make your family and country proud. Make good use of this time and work hard as much as you can. There is not a bigger motivation than representing your country. India is such a huge nation. There are many athletes who worked hard to reach at this level, but only a few like you got to come here," added Neeraj.
The star javelin thrower advised the players to remember the reason behind them playing the sport and their background in their minds once they become famous.
Indian skipper Shafali Verma jokingly asked Neeraj during the session to start playing cricket, to which Neeraj replied, "Maybe I will try my hand at bowling if they allow bhatta (throwing). Make a rule for bhatta."
Richa Ghosh, another Indian star replied to Neeraj, "Then the wicketkeeper will have to stand far back from you."
At the end of the session, Neeraj was gifted a team polo shirt.
Notably, ahead of her side's final of the ICC Women's Under 19 World Cup final against England, Indian skipper Shafali Verma said that the side is extremely excited to play the summit clash and she has shared her experiences of playing finals major tournaments at senior level with them.
Shafali is the third-highest run-scorer in the tournament, having scored 157 runs at an average of 26.16, with one half-century and a strike rate of 201.28. "The feeling among the team is great. We have done whatever plans we had in our nets session. Everyone is aware of their roles and what they need to do for tomorrow's game. Everyone's excited to be playing in the final. We are going to back each other in the final and are going to enjoy it, give our 100 per cent," said Shafali in a post-match press conference on Saturday.
Also, 2022 was an amazing year for Neeraj, though he missed out on Commonwealth Games 2022 due to an injury.
In June, he made a new national record and finished with a silver medal with a throw of 89.30 metres at the Paavo Nurmi Games in Finland, bettering his own previous national record of 88.07 meters which he had set in Patiala in March last year.
In June again, he gave another sterling performance as he clinched gold in the 2022 Kuortane Games in Finland. Neeraj threw 86.69 m to clinch the top prize in tricky and wet conditions.
At the World Athletics Championships in July, Neeraj Chopra made history by becoming only the second Indian and the first male track and field athlete to take home a medal. He finished second and won the silver medal, realising his aim of winning a World medal with a throw of 88.13 metres. Anju Bobby George won a bronze medal for India in the long jump competition before Neeraj.
In September, Chopra made history by becoming the first-ever Indian to win the prestigious Diamond League trophy, a top-tier athletics competition, achieving the best throw of 88.44 m to clinch one of the biggest wins of his career.
He now holds the male javelin record thanks to a throw in the Stockholm Diamond League that measured 89.94 metres, with which he broke his own record. He clinched a silver medal at the prestigious Diamond League meet in Stockholm and broke his own previous record. (ANI)