Arshad Nadeem downplays Neeraj Chopra rivalry ahead of 9th duel
Neeraj Chopra and Arshad Nadeem have competed together 8 times. Neeraj has ranked higher every time. The only time Nadeem breached 90m was when Neeraj was absent.
Arshad Nadeem has no rivalry with Neeraj Chopra and sees him as someone to learn from, the Pakistani javelin thrower said ahead of the duo's face-off in the 2023 World Athletics Championships javelin throw final on Sunday.
Neeraj Chopra and Nadeem both qualified for next year's Paris Olympics, as the two were the only to register throws above 85.5m in the qualification round earlier. The two javelin stars from India and Pakistan, therefore, are the two leading candidates in Sunday's final.
Speaking to PTI, Nadeem said, "I don't compete against any one. I try to always compete with myself and to do better and better. There is no rivalry with Neeraj. You can always learn from top athletes."
Nadeem, who returned to competition after nearly one year after overcoming an elbow injury which required surgery, said he had high regards for his Indian counterpart.
"I wish him the best that he does well and my job is to get better and better for my country," he said.
Can Nadeem overturn record against Neeraj?
The duel between Neeraj and Nadeem promises to be a thrilling finale to the World Athletics Championships in Budapest.
With a personal best of 89.94m achieved last year, Chopra has been pushing for the 90m mark for some time. Nadeem, on the other hand, has already breached the 90m mark last year, but he is returning from a one-year injury break.
Chopra often produces big throws early on. He qualified for the final in Budapest with a big first attempt of 88.77m. Nadeem, on the other hand, started off with a 77m throw before ending with a 86.79m throw that landed him second rank behind Neeraj.
Neeraj and Nadeem have competed together a total of eight times. All eight times, Neeraj has ranked higher than him. The only time Nadeem breached the elusive 90m mark was the 2022 CWG, which Neeraj had missed.
Nadeem will look to overturn his record against his Indian counterpart as he looks to get one over Neeraj for the first time in nine chances - the last one having been at the World Championships in July 2022.