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July 24, 2022

Arshad Nadeem, Pakistan's leading javelin thrower, was far from his personal best in World Championship qualification stage, but anything can happen in the finals today

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And eventually the country’s leading javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem shrugged off his rustiness and made it to the finals of the World Athletics Championships being in operation in Eugene, Oregon, US, these days.

On Friday, in the qualification stage, Arshad in his Group B competitions did not look impressive but was able to qualify for the finals – scheduled to be held this morning (Sunday).

Arshad, who was playing for the first time in the international circuit since finishing fifth in the Tokyo Olympics last year, was below the mark. His first throw was 76.15m and it was followed by his second effort of 74.38m. However, he showed some vigour and his third effort of 81.71m enabled him to qualify for the finals. The qualification standard was 83.50m which was only achieved by four athletes. However, Arshad was able to finish among the top 12 to blast his way into the finals. Arshad was ninth among those 12 who qualified and fourth in his Group B, carrying 14 athletes.

One thing which I noticed was that he looked fit as it is not easy to manage an 81m plus throw with an injured elbow.

It is expected that he will come up with a new strategy in the finals. However, the way he delivered in the qualification stage reflects that he is not in his proper form and there are chances that he will not be able to finish at the podium. This was his second appearance at the global stage. I don’t under-rate him but I think he is not well prepared.

He is playing without a coach at such a big stage.

Sometimes, it happens that one does not impress in the qualification stage but achieves glory in the finals. But body language matters. Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) has given Rs50 million to the AFP as per an official of the Board for training of Arshad and Pakistan No2 Mohammad Yasir. The AFP had sent both Arshad and Yasir to South Africa for training. However, they returned after training under the South African coach Terseus Liebenberg as Arshad had to apply for the US visa. Arshad then trained at Lahore for a couple of months on the training pattern of Terseus.

According to an AFP official, Terseus was expected to handle Arshad in the US but he did not come to Oregon with his South African squad on medical grounds.

Despite all these issues and doubts my best wishes are with Arshad and we want him to win a medal for Pakistan at such a major stage. Hope he will utilize all his experience and manage a huge throw in the finals. He is a big asset of Pakistan and he needs to be properly looked after. The AFP claims that he is being smartly handled and London-based doctor Ali Sher Bajwa is also with him in the US, treating his elbow injury which the federation says is now quite good.

Let’s sit cross-legged and wait for the crunch moment on early Sunday (today).

It was indeed a tough qualification round in which 28 javelin throwers showcased their worth. They were placed in two groups with 14 athletes each.

Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra of India showed his class as he topped his Group A with a super throw of 88.39m and thus broke the qualifying standard of 83.50m with his first effort which took him only 12 seconds.

Chopra is a huge medal hope for India in the global event and he has been very consistent these years, having won the Olympics title as well as Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and Asian Championships crowns.

The 24-year-old is expected to go past the 90metre mark in the finals. Let’s see how he delivers. Neeraj is not the only Indian who qualified for the finals. Rohit Yadav, the 21-year-old national champion, also managed to make it to the finals with a throw of 80.42 metre.

Let’s record here the performances of the top 12 who will be dazzling the stage in the finals.

The reigning world champion Anderson Peters of Grenada topped the top-12 list with a throw of 89.91m. He did it with his first throw. Neeraj finished second with 88.39 metres, also in his first attempt. Germany’s Julian Weber finished third with 87.28m.

Jakub Valdlejch of Czech Republic, who also has to his credit silvers in the World Championships and Olympics, came fourth with an 85.23m throw. He was followed at the fifth place by the World Championship silver medallist and African champion Ihab Abdelrahman of Egypt with a throw of 83.41m.

Finland’s national champion Oliver Helander finished sixth with a throw of 82.41m.

Roderich Genki Dean of Japan was seventh with a throw of 82.34m which was also his season’s best.

Curtis Thompson of USA finished eighth with an effort of 81.73m and Arshad of Pakistan finished ninth with a throw of 81.71.

The world under-20 championship bronze medalist Andrian Mardare of Moldova finished tenth with 80.83m.

Rohit Yadav of India ended 11th with a throw of 80.42m and Lassi Etelatalo of Finland finished 12th with an effort of 80.03m.

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