File image of Neeraj Chopra© AFP

Neeraj Chopra is a trailblazer in Indian sport. At the Tokyo Olympics, he became the first Indian to win a gold medal in athletics in the quadrennial extravaganza. His list of achievements also include medals at the World Championships, the Commonwealth Games, the Diamond League and at the Asian Games too. Chopra, 24, has now become the poster boy of Indian athletics but even he struggled with fitness and diet after the Olympics. However, he has corrected the course and is taking the right steps in that direction.

“After the Olympics, I lost control and (gained weight). Now I am controlling but in training, it happens automatically, you don’t feel like eating unhealthy. I know if I eat a paratha or something the coach will make me pay for it during training the next day. Only if you control yourself you can get good results,” he told Indian Express.

He further gave a detailed list of food items he prefers and those he avoids. “Yeah, no chai. We sometimes eat at Indian restaurants. But it’s mostly boiled food, salad, and fruit. Then you have to eat non-veg as well – chicken, fish and eggs. It’s a sports centre so they prepare food that is best for athletes. You have a lot of options like yoghurt and berry,” he said.

He added that he avoids sweet at all cost. “When we were in Turkey, sweets like baklava were so good but I couldn’t have them. If I really craved it I would have like just one piece in a week or two. Sweets were kept on the counter every day. Don’t know if they were kept there to test the athletes. They kept so many varieties of sweets that it is a huge challenge for athletes to stay away. I and the coach don’t even look at it while we walk past. Cause if we do we might pick up a few,” he said.

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