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September 7, 2020

Arshad to train in Kazakhstan for Olympics


September 7, 2020

KARACHI: Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) is all set to send the country’s premier javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem to Kazakhstan for training in connection with preparations for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

“We have finalised the matter with Kazakhstan and as soon as flights resume we will send Arshad,” AFP president Major General (retd) Akram Sahi told ‘The News’ on Sunday.

“I hope in October we will be able to send him. He will remain there until Olympics,” said Sahi, also a former international athlete.

When asked about the option of Finland, Sahi said: “Yes, that was an option but we felt Kazakhstan to be more suitable.

“In javelin throw Kazakhstan has been fairly good and the coach who will be training Arshad is a world championship silver medallist,” Sahi said.

Coach Viktor Yevsyukov, a Kazakh, won bronze in javelin throw in 1986 European Championship in Germany, won silver in the 1987 Italy World Championship and got fifth position in 1988 Seoul Olympics.

“During his stay at Kazakhstan Arshad will also be fielded in a number of events in Central Asia and Middle East,” Sahi said.

“As Asian Championship will also be held next year so it will also be a test event for Arshad for Olympics and we will field him in that also,” Sahi said.

“Our main aim is to prepare Arshad solidly as this is the first time that Pakistan has got such a golden chance of winning a medal in Olympics in athletics,” he said.

AFP also intends to send Arshad’s coach Fayyaz Bukhari with him to Kazakhstan. “Yes, this is our plan,” Sahi said. “We want to do everything for keeping Arshad comfortable so that he could focus solely on his training on foreign soil,” Sahi said.

A couple of years ago Arshad had been sent to Mauritius for a six-month training by AFP but he returned after two weeks due to home sickness. However, this time AFP has planned to send his coach also. Sahi hoped that Arshad would be able to deliver in Olympics.

“I have no doubt about his ability. He can achieve glory at the world’s biggest stage,” Sahi said.

Asked what AFP has done for managing a camp for Arshad at Lahore, Sahi said he had written to the ministry of IPC.

“Yesterday, I went to Islamabad to meet IPC minister Dr Fehmida Mirza but I could not meet her as she was busy. I gave them a letter that we need immediately camp for Arshad. I have also told Punjab sports minister Rai Taimoor Khan that we need a camp for Arshad immediately,” the AFP chief said.

Arshad remained at his hometown in Mian Channu during the lockdown which started in March. He has focussed on his fitness but has not done any constant training.

He is desperately waiting for the camp. “Yes, I am waiting desperately. I have got a golden opportunity to make solid preparation and I am looking forward to it,” Arshad told ‘The News’.

Arshad stunned everyone with a stunning 86.29 metre throw at the 13th South Asian Games in Nepal last year which was enough for earning an Olympic seat.

This is the first time that a Pakistani athlete has qualified directly to the world’s most prestigious extravaganza.

Besides Arshad, shooters Ghulam Mohammad Bashir, Khalil Akhtar and Gulfam Joseph and Australia-based horse-rider Usman Khan have qualified for Olympics. Karateka Saadi Abbas and judoka Shah Hussain are close to Olympics seats.