Arshad Nadeem’s performance in the World Athletics Championships will tell us how bright his prospects are at the forthcoming Commonwealth Games and the Islamic Games
akistan’s star javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem late Thursday night left for the United States to feature in the World Athletics Championships to be held in Eugene, Oregon, from July 15-24.
This will be after 11 months that Arshad will be competing in the international circuit since finishing fifth in the Tokyo Olympics on August 7, 2021, with a throw of 84.62 metre.
Arshad's heroics at the Olympics turned his life around and he got richer within no time. He was massively backed both by the government and corporate sector. He purchased a house for himself in the city and now leads a different life. The simple boy has now been seen as more mature, skilled and even tries to keep away from the media seemingly due to some pressure from the authorities concerned.
There is no doubt that he is carrying an elbow injury and he will have to play with it in the global event in Oregon where he will feature in the qualification stage on July 21. The finals will be held on July 23.
Arshad developed this injury during an international event in Iran early last year where he also set a new national record with a monster effort of 86.38 metre which ensured that he would finish at a highly respectable place in the Tokyo Olympics. However, in Tokyo he flopped in the finals despite finishing his group in the qualification stage at the summit.
Arshad underwent a couple of months training in South Africa under the South African coach Terseus Liebenberg recently. He returned a couple of months back and kept training at Lahore without a coach. The AFP kept saying that he was training according to the plan given by Terseus.
Let’s see whether the AFP’s strategy bears any fruit. The performance in the global event will tell whether the AFP planned perfectly for Arshad’s preparation or its plan was flawed. I will write on this topic in detail after Arshad the World Championship in the US. There are various issues which will be revealed in that piece.
One cannot say how Arshad will deliver in the US. Its basic reason is that he did not feature in any event after the Tokyo Olympics. His performance in the global event will also tell us how bright his prospects are at the Commonwealth Games and the Islamic Games. England will host the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham from July 28 to August 8. Turkey is set to host the Islamic Games in Konya from August 9-18.
You can assess an athlete’s chances rightly if he repeats his top performances. If he stands short of it, or does not compete constantly in events then doubts are always there. So doubts are there about Arshad’s performance in the US event. Let’s see how he handles the pressure there. In the Tokyo Olympics, pressure had sunk Arshad.
This is the second time that the Asian Games bronze medallist is taking part in the global event. He appeared in the World Championships in Doha in 2019. Although he did not qualify for the finals, he pulled off his personal best of 81.52m which was also a national record.
The US’s event gold hopeful and reigning world champion Anderson Peters of Grenada, 2017 World Championship silver medallist Jakub Vadlejch of Czech Republic, Tokyo Olympics champion Neeraj Chopra of India, Oliver Helander of Finland, Julian Weber of Germany, 2012 Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago and Andreas Hofmann of Germany are in top form. And Arshad should keep in mind that they are athletes who have nerves of steel and can handle pressure very well.
As many as 32 javelin throwers from 20 nations are set to compete in the javelin throw event in Eugene. The competition will be missing the 2017 world champion and 2019 bronze medallist Johannes Vetter. The 29-year-old German, second on the all-time list with 97.76m, is out with a shoulder injury.
A senior official of the AFP is hopeful that Arshad will deliver in the US.
"I am very much confident he will put in his best," AFP secretary Mohammad Zafar told 'The News on Sunday’ (TNS).
Zafar is accompanying Arshad during his US journey. They will also be joined by the AFP president Major General (retd) Akram Sahi who is scheduled to leave for the US on July 18. Asked whether his injury will be of any concern for Arshad during the event Zafar said he is feeling well. "Arshad is in top shape and is undergoing training here at Lahore. He resumed training on July 12 after spending Eid with his family," Zafar said.
He revealed that London-based orthopaedic specialist Dr Ali Sher Bajwa has been treating Arshad's injury. "We involved him when Arshad was in South Africa and he is treating him well. Dr Bajwa will also come to the US to see Arshad," Zafar said.
He said that Arshad would directly go to Birmingham from the US to feature in the Commonwealth Games.
It is expected that Terseus will also handle Arshad during the World Championship.
"Terseus is coming to the US with his South African team and we will meet him there and hopefully he will also handle Arshad during the event," Zafar said.
He did not exactly know whether Arshad would go directly from Birmingham to Konya, Turkey, for Islamic Games.
"We do not yet know the actual schedule. Yes, we know that Arshad will go directly from the US to Birmingham on July 24," Zafar said.