Former Zimbabwe pacer Henry Olonga is taking inspiration from Neeraj Chopra to take up athletics as recreation. He also revealed how the star Indian javelin thrower winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics was very “inspiring” and how it was good for the sport in general. It is important to remember that Olongo was the pivotal member of the Zimbabwe men’s cricket team back in the day and he went on to play 30 Tests and as many ODIs for the country, taking 126 wickets across both the formats.

“I saw Chopra at the Olympics and I was like, ‘Wow! A gold medal in javelin from India!’ I was very inspired and I thought it was very interesting for athletics in general and also for India that there’s some good throwers from all over the world. You need to be fit and not be injury prone. It’s similar to fast bowling in many ways, but there’s nothing as iconic as seeing the javelin going through the air… It’s very glamorous to see that 90m,” Olonga told Sportstar.

“I want to do something as recreation and something that gives me a bit of competition. I thought I would join athletics and I did last year, but I injured my elbow on a fishing trip. That swelling lasted for a few months and that marred my athletics season,” he added.

Further talking about how serious he is to pursue athletics, Olonga said: “This year, I am gonna get back and see what I can do. I am 46 man! But the guy who won the state championships threw 50m, so I think I have a chance. It would be nice to go out there and be competitive and also get the girls involved in sports.”

“Man, who knows you might see Henry Olonga at the Commonwealth Games at the age of 50! You never know,” he added.

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Olonga has now shifted to Adelaide along with his wife.

Olonga along with Andy Flower had donned black armbands during the 2003 World Cup to protest what they perceived as the “death of democracy” in Zimbabwe.

“There was a lot of politics. So, when I left the team, it wasn’t the most pleasant thing. I was told that I couldn’t go on the bus with the team and it was quite petty and ugly. It seemed they wanted revenge because of my stance,” said Olonga.

“They told me not to do anymore political things and I was past it by then. I wouldn’t use the word traumatic, but when I left the team, I was supported by quite a few people. The Lashings World XI was one such… I moved to England. The chairman gave me a place to stay,” he added.

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