Athletics
Tajinderpal Singh Toor: ‘Will win Asian Games gold without straining my body’

Tajinderpal Singh Toor: ‘Will win Asian Games gold without straining my body’

The Asian Games defending champion Tajinderpal Singh Toor is making a comeback after injuring his groin in July.

To miss out on competitions due to an injury is the worst thing that can happen to an athlete, and no one knows it better than shot-putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor. Not only does it keep one out of the competition, but also takes away precious training time from an athlete.

The Asian and national record holder Tajinderpal has had three serious injuries in as many years which has arrested his progress. At Tokyo 2020, he participated with an injured wrist, and could not qualify for the finals with a best throw of 19.99m. Soon after he went in for surgery. Then in 2022, just before the World Championships in Eugene, he injured his groin, and could not participate. And now, recently at the Asian Championships in July, he injured his groin again and limped out of the competition. This resulted in his non-participation at the 2023 World Championships as well.

Also Read: Top Indian athletes to miss out on selection at Asian Games

Clear Goal for Asian Games 2023

After a couple of months of recovery, the Asian champion is fully fit and is ready to have a go at the Asian Games 2023. Fortunately, Tajinderpal isn’t setting unrealistic goals for himself at the moment. In an interaction with InsideSport, he made it clear that he doesn’t want to risk any further injury, and wants to ease into the competition without putting a lot of pressure on his body. Yet he doesn’t want to settle for anything less than a gold medal in the upcoming tournament.

“My body is responding well. I started my throws today and there was no pain. I am mighty pleased with the progress I’ve made after my injury,” Tajinderpal said from NIS Patiala. “To be honest, I’m not pushing my body to its limits, and yet achieving some decent distances in the training. Prior to this, as part of the rehabilitation, I focussed on my upper body strength and slowly started doing squats. So it all panned out well before I started throwing again. The focus for the Asian Games is to defend my title and win the gold medal again.”

Once again, he stressed on the fact that he won’t punish his body to attain great distances in his throws. It is more about getting into a rhythm. “I would not push a lot for the distance since I’m coming back after an injury and don’t want to risk it again. It would be better if I take it slow, but I’m still confident of clinching the gold medal. The priority is to stay injury-free.”

Tajinderpal Singh Toor had won the Asian Games 2018 with a best throw of 20.75m.
Tajinderpal Singh Toor had won the Asian Games 2018 with a best throw of 20.75m.

Looking Ahead at Paris 2024

Asked if he was worried about the Olympic qualification, he laughed it off almost instantly. Tajinderpal Singh Toor has already surpassed the qualification mark of 21.50m once this year, at the inter-state championships in June, but the qualification window started on July 1 only. Despite that, he’ll comfortably make it by virtue of his superior ranking in the world. This year, he is ranked 13th in the world and first in Asia.

“As far as the qualifying mark for the Paris 2024 Olympics is concerned, it’s not official yet, but as per my ranking, I should be through. In June I made the new national record and Asian Record of 21.77m, while the qualification process started on July 1.”

If all goes well, he could be seen hurling the iron ball over the 22m mark by next year. Something he wanted to achieve this year only, if not for the groin injury. “My aim was to peak at the World Championships and was getting great throws at the inter-state championships too. In training, I was getting a distance of about 22.30 or 22.40 and wanted to do that at the World Championships. Hopefully, I’ll be doing that soon enough again,” he added.

Also Read: Vithya Ramraj Misses Out On Breaking PT Usha’s Record By One Hundredth Of A Second

Don’t Rush

For that to happen, Tajinderpal has a clear plan in mind, and with that wants to be in a league of the world’s best throwers as well. He is also aware that all this won’t happen overnight but is a slow process. “Taking my distance to what world leaders like Ryan Crouser and Tom Walsh are throwing, in excess of 23m, won’t happen overnight. There is a certain progression and we need to respect that. There was a time in India when we would get medals with a throw of 19m as well, which has now come to close to 22m now. So these things definitely take time, but are bound to happen. In the next two to three years, I want to be in that bracket of shot-putters who are in that range.

“For that, I want to be training full-time in Europe next year. That is where I will be able to compete consistently with the world’s best and improve. So that is something I’m really looking forward to. All I can say is, if I can do a 22m throw, 23m will come too,” he signed off.

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