Pakistan’s last medal hope Arshad Nadeem will be in action today

DailyTimes  |  Aug 04, 2021

LAHORE: Pakistan’s last surviving athlete in the Tokyo Olympics Arshad Nadeem will be in action for group stages of the javelin throw competition in Tokyo, Japan on Wednesday (today). Arshad, 24, was Pakistan’s first ever track and field athlete to directly qualify for the Olympic Games when he made a throw of 86.29m in the South Asian Games at Katmandu. Arshad is placed in group B for the javelin throw competition and his event will start at 06:35am Pakistan time. He is placed alongside world number three Chao-Tsun Cheng and world number five Anderson Peters. Arshad’s current world ranking is 23. However his seasonal best, which is also his personal best —- a throw of 86.38 —- is one of the best ten throws of the season. His medal winning throw in Iran in April this year puts him at 7th among the top best throwers of the season. In Tokyo, a total of 32 contestants are divided in two groups of 16 each. According to qualification criteria, athletes with a throw of minimum 83.50m or at least 12 best performers advance to the final.

Having a look at his performance and progress over the years, one can confidently say that Arshad is very much among the favourites to qualify for the final and if it’s his day, he can achieve a rare glory for the country. Arshad is considered to be one of the finest javelin throwers in South Asia. He first came into the limelight in 2016 when he won the bronze at the South Asian Games in Guwahati, throwing the javelin for 78.33m, his first national record then. Since then, he has been improving his marks in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, where he also bagged a bronze medal for Pakistan, Arshad threw the javelin for 80.75m, another new national record for him. In the World Championship at Doha, Arshad improved further and achieved the 81.52 mark before further improving it at the National Games in 2019, with a throw of 83.65m. In the South Asian Games in 2019, he threw 86.29m, that also earned him a ticket to Tokyo. Earlier this year in Iran, he threw 86.38m. In the 2016 Rio Olympics, Germany’s Thomas Rohler had won a gold medal with a throw of 90.30m. The Olympic record in javelin throw is 90.58, achieved by Norway’s Andreas Thorkildsen in 2008.

Arshad’s journey to Tokyo has been a long one. He contracted Covid-19 in May while training in Turkey with Kazakhstan’s former international javelin thrower and now coach Viktor Yevsyukov. He made his international comeback after the 2019 South Asian Games performance in April at the Mashhad Imam Reza Athletics Tournament in Iran, where he bettered his personal best and created a new national record, throwing a distance of 86.38m. Agencies

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