He wants the government of Pakistan to support him
Arshad Nadeem wants to win more than just the hearts of the Pakistani people.
He did so by finishing fifth in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Javelin Throw final, but now, the 24-year-old has his eyes set on the upcoming season.
The summer of 2022 will feature the IAAF World Athletics Championships, the Commonwealth Games, the Islamic Solidarity Games and the Asian Games. Two years later, the 2024 Paris Olympics will be held.
Arshad is looking to compete in all of them and win medals for Pakistan. “When I acheived the fifth position in the [Olympics] final, I could say from what I was hearing, that I’ve won the hearts of the Pakistanis despite not winning the medal,” he told SAMAA Digital on Wednesday.
Speaking at an event at the Hamdard University — where he was also awarded Rs500,000 cash prize — the Mian Channu man said he has ‘disappointed’ the nation by not winning Pakistan’s first Olympic medal in 28 years. “In the Paris 2024 Olympics I’m sure I’m going to do better and win a medal for Pakistan,” he said.
Arshad said competing in the Olympics final did make him feel the heat. “When I qualified for the final I was hoping to win a medal for Pakistan. Obviously there was pressure,” he said. “I knew the whole nation was watching me. The weather was very hot that day. I also had to finish in the top eight in the first round of the final as well.”
And he did. He finished four places above Germany’s Johannes Vetter, who was coming into the final as a gold medal contender.
While Vetter’s best throw in the season was 96.21m. Arshad, who threw an 84.62m, bettered Vetter’s 82.52 in the final.
What he couldn’t do, was match the 87.58m throw of his long-time inspiration and friend, India’s Neeraj Chopra. “God blessed Neeraj with what he deserved and I think I got what I deserved,” said Arshad.
However, the athlete said there was a massive difference between his and Neeraj’s preparations. “I’ve been competing with Neeraj since 2016 and he has been training abroad since then. I’ve only trained in Pakistan,” Arshad said.
Now that Arshad is ranked among the top Javelin Throw athletes in the world, he expects the sports authorities and the government of Pakistan to back him in his pursuit of making the most of the opportunities in 2022.
For now, he is taking much-deserved break. “Many important events are scheduled but I’m a bit busy right now. Soon I’ll start preparing.”