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July 5, 2020

Arshad keen to start training for Olympics

Sports

July 5, 2020

KARACHI: Pakistan’s premier javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem on Sunday said he needs to start training for Olympics but was unable to do anything.

“I have lost much precious time because of the lockdown. You know Olympics is a big event and for that I need training which is not there,” Arshad told ‘The News’ in a detailed chat from his village near Mian Channu.

Arshad, who aims to win a medal at next year’s Olympics, has been confined to his village which these days is suffering immensely because of load-shedding.

He qualified for the Tokyo Olympics through an amazing throw of 86.29metre during the 13th South Asian Games in Nepal last year which also fetched the gold medal for him.

This is the first time that a Pakistani athlete has qualified for Olympics through a world-level throw.

“I cannot train hard. I just keep myself fit and do some light workout four days in a week. It’s too hot here and it’s not ideal for workout,” Arshad said.

“This is a strange situation. But I am fit and have kept my weight constant through light exercises. I have no access to any gym. There is a gym in Mian Channu city but it takes me 45 minutes to reach there and in lockdown nobody is allowed to travel and there are problems,” Arshad said.

“My coach Bukhari has given me a javelin and I do some practice with that. If you are not in top shape and you start putting load on your body you can get injured, so I am very careful. When I return to full training it will take me around three months to be in full flow and then I will tell you what outcome could be achieved in the Olympics,” Arshad said.

However, the 2018 Asian Games bronze medallist was quick to add that there should be some solution to the issue. “I think the situation will not ease out so quickly and if it goes to the end of this year then there will be little time left. So if there is a camp in Islamabad under SOPs then we can battle against the odds to prepare for Olympics,” the 2016 Asian Junior Athletics Championships bronze medallist said.

Arshad has been confined to his home since the lockdown which was imposed in the later part of March.

Although various nations of Asia have eased lockdowns and have allowed their athletes to start training with strict SOPs in their well-established sports complexes, Pakistan government is yet to lift restrictions on sports activities.

The World Athletics have already announced that the Olympic qualifiers remaining time-period would begin from December 1, 2020, and continue till June 2021.

“I am in touch with my coach Bukhari, who keeps advising me,” Arshad said.

Besides Arshad, shooters Khalil Akhtar, Gulfam Joseph and Ghulam Mustafa Bashir and Melbourne-based horse rider Usman Khan have qualified for Olympics. Judoka Shah Hussain has achieved continental quota and is close to earning an Olympic seat for the second successive time.