It has been a surreal week for me and the Indian Olympic contingent. I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that I have won the first athletics gold for India at an Olympics. When I look back, several thoughts cross my mind. While dedication, preparation, mental fortitude and execution are non-negotiable for a sportsperson, I have come to realise that time is the most potent guiding force in our lives. What if the Tokyo Olympics happened in 2020? What if there was no pandemic? Time has been my biggest ally. The whole of 2019 I was injured and had a surgery. I did not train, nor did I take part in the world championship and missed the all-important Diamond League. I was completely out of touch. It took the whole of 2020 to get back on track and prepare for the Tokyo Olympics. I know Covid has played havoc with people’s lives and ruined sporting calendars, but the pandemic was a blessing for me.
We athletes are dependent on a supportive ecosystem. I am lucky to have got the right support by the federation, the sports ministry and my sponsors, JSW. To be the best one cannot compromise with the quality of training and trainers. My stint with legendary javelin thrower Uwe Hohn in 2018 was a significant period of my journey. But if I managed to recover and get my strength back and attain peak physical fitness after a depressing 2019, all credit goes to Dr Klaus Bartonietz, the German bio-mechanic expert. Javelin throwing is a combination of strength, flexibility and speed. All these combine to give the explosive power one needs to hurl the spear. There is a difference between just throwing a spear and throwing a javelin afar.