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January 9, 2020

Olympic hopeful Arshad set to leave for China tomorrow


January 9, 2020

KARACHI: After taking ample rest following 13th South Asian Games, Pakistan’s top athlete Arshad Nadeem will leave for China on Friday (tomorrow) to kick-start his preparation for 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“I have rested for a few days and now I am ready to leave for China on Friday,” Arshad told ‘The News’ from his hometown Mian Channu on Wednesday.

Arshad created ripples in athletics circles through his world-level throw in javelin competitions when he recorded 86.29 metre during the 13th South Asian Games held in Nepal from December 1-10 last year.

The superb feat also enabled Arshad to become a rare national athlete to qualify for the world’s most prestigious event to be held in Tokyo next summer. “China tour will be good where I will train until the end of next month,” Arshad said.

However he was quick to add that after that he will need further training either in Germany or Finland. “It would be much better if I am sent to Germany or Finland after my China tour,” Arshad said.

Arshad will join in Shanghai four other Pakistani athletes who proceeded on December 28. They include Samiullah, Olympian Mehboob Ali, Mohammad Naeem and Uzair-ur-Rehman.

Arshad said that he could not continue his training after Nepal’s SAG because he had no facilities at home. “I have no facilities at home and this is why I could not train during my off-days,” Arshad said. However, he was confident of an Olympic medal.

“Lifting medal in Tokyo is my main objective and hopefully I will achieve that target,” Arshad said. He is leaving for China a bit late due to his domestic issues. Arshad confirmed that Punjab government has given him Rs 500,000 for lifting gold in the 13th South Asian Games. Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) is yet to award the medal-winners of the SAG.

Arshad shot to fame when he lifted bronze in the 2016 South Asian Games in India. The bronze came because the gold and silver medallists had world’s top rankings. The feat also enabled Arshad to become IAAF Under-20 World No 3, a rare achievement for any Pakistani athlete.

The same year in Vietnam, Arshad snared bronze in the Asian Junior Athletics Championships. He got bronze in the 2017 Baku Islamic Games and bronze in the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia. He showed his class when he bettered his record by inking an 83.65m throw in the 33rd National Games in Peshawar to claim gold for WAPDA.

Arshad had also bettered his record when he recorded 81.52m in the Doha World Athletics Championships in September last year.

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