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July 14, 2020

Arshad aims at 90-plus throw at Olympics


July 14, 2020

KARACHI: The rivalry between Pakistan and India on sporting fields has always been fascinating for the fans and athletes on both sides of the border.

In the next year’s Tokyo Olympics Pakistan’s premier javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem will face India’s star thrower Neeraj Chopra and Shivpal Singh besides the best throwers from around the world. But some athletes don’t give much weightage to such things.

When this correspondent asked Arshad if he was targeting the Indians in Tokyo, his reply was in negative. “I target neither any Indian nor any one else from around the world. I will compete with my target which I have set for myself,” Arshad told ‘The News’ in an informal chat on Monday.

India’s ace thrower Neeraj qualified for the Tokyo Olympics with a throw of 87.86m in a meet in South Africa in January this year which marked his return to the circuit after recovering from an elbow injury.

Neeraj in 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia snared gold with an 88.06m effort. Pakistan’s Arshad claimed bronze with a throw of 80.75m. Shivpal failed to impress in Indonesia as he finished eighth with 74.11m. Shivpal blasted his way into the Tokyo Olympics through an 85.47m throw in an event in South Africa in March.

The qualifying standard for Tokyo Games is 85m. Arshad stole the limelight when he wrote history for Pakistan by blasting his way into the Olympics with an 86.29m throw at the 13thSouth Asian Games in Nepal last year which fetched gold medal for the Khanewal athlete.

“I always compete keeping in mind my own target. I don’t think about who I am competing against. In Tokyo, I will try to achieve my target of 90 metre plus and I hope that will give me a medal,” Arshad said.

Arshad shot to fame when he claimed his first bronze medal in international circuit, in 2016 South Asian Games in India. In that event Neeraj picked gold and a Sri Lankan claimed silver. The bronze medal feat enabled Arshad to occupy third spot in the World Athletics Under-20 rankings.

Arshad also snared a bronze in the Asian Junior Championships in Vietnam. He never looked back as he claimed bronze in the 2017 Baku Islamic Games, bronze in the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia and gold in the 2019 South Asian Games.

“If you don’t target anyone and aim to achieve your target in javelin you can produce much better results as such thinking takes the pressure off and it enhances one’s performance,” Arshad said. “If you achieve your target then automatically you will beat your opponents,” Arshad said.

With both Indians training well for Olympics due to India’s sporting structure, it is not yet known how well Arshad can be prepared.

Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) had planned to send Arshad to Finland for training but the plan could not be implemented because of the outbreak of coronavirus.

Keeping in view the world class throw from Arshad he seems to be a medal hope for Pakistan in Tokyo. Thomas Rohler of Germany had claimed gold in the 2016 Tio Olympics with a throw of 90.30m.

Julius Yego of Kenya finished with silver by virtue of an 88.24 metre throw and Kishorn Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago ended with bronze with an 85.38m throw.