KARACHI: Pakistan’s premier javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem on Sunday said that he had learnt a lot from the Tokyo Olympics and would not disappoint the nation in the 2024 Paris Olympics.
“It sports it happens. I tried my level best and knew that the whole nation was backing me at home. I made a huge effort but could not live up to the billing,” Arshad told ‘The News’ in an interview from Tokyo on Sunday. “I thank the whole nation for backing me,” he added.
Arshad on Saturday with a throw of 84.62 metre finished fifth in the javelin throw finals of the Tokyo Olympics which was a huge achievement from the Pakistani athlete who was featuring in his maiden Olympics.
Arshad agreed that there was much pressure on him. “No doubt pressure was there. The whole nation was backing me.
“It was definitely in my mind that I should not return without a medal but luck did not favour me and it has really disappointed me also,” said Arshad, a bronze medallist of 2018 Asian Games.
He said that his body did not respond properly and that upset him during the finals. “There were two major reasons for my bad performance in the finals. It was very hot. And the other thing was that my body did not respond. It happened with me for the first time in my career. I don’t know why it happened,” he said.
Arshad had qualified for the finals with a throw of 85.16 metre and had topped his Group B in the qualification stage on August 4. And he had entered the finals as the third best seed among the pack of 12 athletes who had made it to the finals.
“When I did my third throw which returned with a result of 84.62 metre, I felt dizzy and I could not see anything. I don’t know why it happened as I hadn’t experienced such a thing in the past,” Arshad revealed.
“After that I went all out but my throws were not going long and I don’t know why it happened to me,” he said.
Arshad had blasted his way into the Olympics with an 86.29 metre throw in the 2019 13th South Asian Games in Nepal.
This was the first time in history that an athlete of Pakistan directly made his way into the Olympics.
Arshad then bettered his record with an 86.38 metre throw in an international event in Iran in April this year which also fetched gold for him. It was also a record for that event.
“Now there is a World Championship next year and Asian Games and a load of other events are coming up and InshaAllah I will pull off desired performances,” Arshad said.
“It was a huge loss in Tokyo. But you see not a single athlete could pull off his best. In the finals too there was a tough competition. Even Germany’s Johannes Vetter, the World No1, failed to qualify for the last eight athletes in the finals. It was my first appearance and others were more experienced. They had come from the developed world and I am from a village with no facilities. I am trying to get myself back and InshaAllah I pledge that I will work harder and show more resolve in future to win a big title for the country,” Arshad said.
“When you lose it helps you learn and it makes you stronger and InshaAllah I will come back stronger. I will try my level best now to adapt myself as a professional athlete. I will now try to become more professional, train more professionally and in future I will show more confidence and pull off superb performances,” Arshad said.
When asked what had happened when he did not realise that it was his turn when he had to throw for the sixth and last time in the finals, Arshad said he was thinking not to disappoint his nation. “Yes, it is true. The time was ticking and I was lost in my thoughts, not knowing that it was my turn. I was planning to do my best throw and win a medal and to not disappoint my nation. A competition official, a lady, came to me and told me that it was my turn. I hastily rushed to the mark and started run-up and resultantly it was a foul. I did not even listen to my coach and doctor sahib who were shouting to me that it was my turn. And when I threw and knew that I lost my goal I was not in senses and was deeply sad. I was sad because the whole nation was praying for me and I could not live up to the nation’s expectations,” Arshad said.
India’s Neeraj Chopra, who won gold with an 87.58 metre throw, met Arshad during the closing ceremony on Sunday.
“When we were going for the closing ceremony, Chopra came to me and said that it was bad luck that I did not manage a good throw in the finals,” Arshad said.
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