Thursday August 11, 2022

Arshad fully focused on training

January 15, 2022

KARACHI: Eyeing a medal in the World Championship this year in US, Pakistan’s premier javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem has said that he has left everything behind and is solely focused on his training.

“I have left everything behind and have come to Lahore to solely focus on training. Thanks God, training is going very well,” Arshad told ‘The News’ in an interview from Lahore on Friday.

“The World Championship is my prime target as it is a big event like Olympics and I want to click at that major stage,” said Arshad, who won the hearts of Pakistani people with his stunning qualification round summit finish in his group in the Tokyo Olympics last year. However, in the finals he faltered, eventually finishing fifth, still a solid feat which was appreciated by people back home. It was his Olympic debut. He became the first Pakistani athlete to make it to the Olympics when he managed an 86.29 metre throw during the South Asian Games in Nepal in 2019.

“A medal here would be a dream come true. When you aim high you need to leave all worries behind and concentrate on the goal and that is what I am doing,” said the 2018 Asian Games bronze medallist.

“You know the event is tough but I am confident this time I will enter with a different body language. Olympics experience has instilled in me a lot of confidence and it has made me more mature and hopefully I will be in a good state to prove my worth at the global level,” he added.

The World Championship is slated to be held in Eugene, Oregon, US, from July 15-24. The qualification stage will be held on July 21 and the finals on July 23.

This is the second time that Arshad will compete in the World Championship. He made his debut at the global event in 2019 in Doha where he could not qualify for the finals due to groin problems.

However, he managed to create a national record with a throw of 81.52 metre in his first attempt. “Yes, I had a groin issue and it was not easy for me to go all the way,” recalled Arshad. “But it was a good experience. It instils a sort of confidence in you when you play in such a competitive environment and with the world’s best,” he said.

Arshad and Mohammad Yasir, also a javelin thrower, are being sent to South Africa for training. The athletics governing body (AFP) has already applied for South Africa visas for the duo which are expected to be endorsed within the next few days.

Arshad is eagerly waiting for the tour. “Yes, I am looking forward to the trip. It would be great to train under the South African coach Terseus Liebenberg. I will be in a better position to know how I can deliver at the global event in Oregon after some training in Africa,” said Arshad, also a former Asian Junior Championship bronze medallist.

Both Arshad and Yasir are training at Lahore according to the schedule given to them by the South African coach.

Arshad said mostly fitness is being focused. “Training sometimes is in two sessions and sometimes in one session of around three hours. We will work on techniques when we go to South Africa,” he said.

Arshad’s younger brother Mohammad Aleem is also training with the duo. They are staying at the PSB Coaching Centre, Lahore.

As Omicron cases are rising in Lahore, Arshad said he is very careful. “When you are up for a national cause, definitely there is more responsibility on your shoulders and you need to take more care and I am doing that,” Arshad said.

The World Championship will be a sort of prelude for Arshad as he will have to take part in the Commonwealth Games, Islamic Games and Asian Games which come after one another without much gap.

In 2019 World Championship, Anderson Peters of Grenada got gold with an 86.89 metre, Magnus Kirt of Estonia fetched silver with an 86.21 metre while Johannes Vetter of Germany claimed bronze with an 85.37 metre throw. It shows if Arshad, whose personal best is 86.38 metre, manages something around 90 metre he can finish at the victory podium in Oregon.