‘Play without any pressure’: What Neeraj Chopra told the Shafali Varma-led Indian U-19 team ahead of the T20 World Cup final

“Play without any pressure” that’s what Tokyo Olympics champion athlete Neeraj Chopra told the Shafali Varma led Indian U-19 team ahead of the final clash against England in the ICC U-19 Women’s T20 World Cup. Chopra, who is in South Africa for his training, had interacted with the Indian team ahead of the final clash and talked about his journey as an athlete in a motivational speech to the players. The Indian women’s U-19 team won the inaugural edition of the ICC U-19 Women’s T20 World Cup with a seven-wicket win over England in the final played at Potchefstroom on Sunday.

“Play without any pressure. If you take pressure at this stage, then in the future the same things will be in your mind. So just like you are enjoying your game now, give your 100 percent and listen to what your coaches say. When I started, I was from a regular family. And I had to leave my village (for the sport). I feel you all also have the opportunity to make your family and country proud,” Chopra said during the interaction with the Indian U-19 team.

The reigning Olympics javelin throw champion was in the stands to watch the final, when the Indian women’s U-19 team scripted history by winning the maiden U-19 World Cup title. While the Indian U-19 Women’s team suffered their only loss in the tournament against Australia in the tournament, Chopra advised the team to handle any situation with calmness. The Olympic champion told the players to see playing for India as the biggest motivation for them. “Make good use of this time. Whatever hard work you have to do, prepare yourself to handle any situations. You are playing for your country. That is the biggest motivation that we have for our country. India Is such a huge country. There are many kids in India. And many athletes like you want to reach this level. But you all have got the opportunity to come here. That’s a big motivation for you in itself,” said Chopra in a video posted by the official Twitter handle of ICC.

Chopra also urged the importance of remaining grounded with the team members. The Olympic champion would talk about his training schedule and the aim to prepare better. “There is a passion for training. That I have to train like this. Today is my running, today are my jumps, so I have to give my 100 percent there. So the motivation is always there to prepare better. And give my best to keep the Indian flag flying high. If you become famous, keep in mind why you started playing the game. And always remember your background,” said Chopra.

The Olympic champion was also presented with an Indian jersey, which he wore and posed for selfies with the young stars before indulging in a short question answer session by the young stars.

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