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Sahil Silwal ready to follow in Neeraj Chopra’s footsteps

But unfair to compare youngsters with Olympic champion

He is lean and tall and has a sort of lost look about him. But Sahil Silwal could be the future of Indian javelin throw, the best of the rest behind Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra.

The 20-year-old from Haryana was fourth in the 2018 under-20 Worlds in Finland with 72.83m but now has made better progress than all the medallists there. Sahil’s personal best 80.65m, in Patiala in March, makes him India’s third best thrower this year, behind Neeraj and Shivpal Singh.

“Neeraj has motivated us with his gold. I train with him and when somebody like him wins medals, it lifts us all,” said Sahil in a chat with The Hindu during the National Open where he won with 77.79m.

With the national camp having taken a break, he was not at his best.

“The sidewinds and headwinds at Warangal affected the throwers,” said Kashinath Naik, a former assistant national javelin coach who had worked with Neeraj, Shivpal and Annu Rani earlier.

“Youngsters like Sahil, D.P. Manu and Rohit Yadav are the best three after Neeraj and they are all in the 20-21 age group. Kunwer Ajai Raj is also good.

Grooming

“Sahil has the height too, he may come good in the next Asian Games and he can be groomed for the 2024 Paris Olympics.”

But it will be unfair to compare the youngsters with Neeraj.

“Neeraj is an extraordinary talent. He is very aggressive and does not fear anything,” said Kashinath.

“Some of these young boys have a bit of fear but once they get more international exposure, they will be strong and consistent.”

The people who have shaped Neeraj are working with Sahil too. He trains under Jaiveer Chaudhary, the Olympic champion’s early coach. And biomechanics expert Klaus Bartonietz charts out Sahil’s training plan with Jaiveer.

“I’ve been with Jaiveer for a year, am comfortable with his technique and plan,” said Sahil who went to Finland and South Africa with Neeraj earlier.

“I want to do big throws at the Asian Games, I want to win medals for the country. But right now, because I’m very tall (6’3), I need to put on some more weight to get stronger.”

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