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Neeraj Chopra: Arshad Nadeem is a champion, surprising to know his struggle for javelin

Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem, the 2022 Commonwealth Games champion, recently said he has been struggling to secure a new javelin.

Neeraj Chopra: Arshad Nadeem is a champion, surprising to know his struggle for javelin
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Neeraj Chopra and Arshad Nadeem created history by winning gold and silver at the World Athletics Championships in 2023. 

By

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 19 March 2024 5:35 AM GMT

They have been known for their bonhomie and camaraderie off the pitch. They may be fierce competitors but have a healthy respect for each other. Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem and India’s Neeraj Chopra are javelin superstars in their own right and a symbol of perfect friendship.

Both Arshad Nadeem and Neeraj Chopra are getting ready for the upcoming outdoor season. While Chopra is currently training in Turkey, the 27-year-old Nadeem’s preparations have hit a ‘snag’. The Pakistani recently said he has been struggling to acquire an international standard javelin for many years and has been “using one for the past seven to eight years.”

Chopra, the world and defending Olympic champion, is rather surprised to hear this.

In an exclusive chat with SAI Media recently, Chopra, who competed with Nadeem in the world athletics championships in Budapest last year, said, “It is hard to believe that he has been struggling to get a new javelin. Given his credentials, this should not be a big issue at all.”

Arshad Nadeem, who finished second behind Chopra in Budapest, was recently quoted in the media, saying: “It has now got to a stage where the javelin is damaged and I have asked the national federation and my coach to do something about it before the Paris Olympics.

“When I started in 2015, competing in international events I got this javelin … for an international athlete aiming to win a medal in the Olympic Games, you need proper equipment and training facilities.”

Chopra, whose entire training and international tours are funded by the Indian sports ministry’s Target Olympic Podium Scheme, feels that Nadeem is the pride of Pakistan and must be supported.

With a 90.18m throw, Arshad Nadeem created a new javelin throw record at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham to finish on top of the podium. It ended Pakistan’s 60-year wait for a CWG gold medal.

“It can’t be that he (Arshad) doesn’t have the means to buy a javelin. He is a champion and must be doing some brand endorsements. I reckon he has earned a bit of money too. But having said that, his government can look at Arshad’s needs and support him just like how my government is doing.

“Additionally, Arshad is a top javelin thrower and I believe that the javelin makers will be more than happy to sponsor him and provide what he wants. This is a piece of advice from my side,” said Chopra.

If all goes well, the javelin competition at the upcoming Paris Olympics could see a strong Asian field. Chopra and Kishore Jena will spearhead India while Nadeem, who finished fifth in the Tokyo Olympics, will hope to replicate another 90-meter-plus throw in Paris and pose a serious threat to a sport usually dominated by Europeans.

In December 2022, the Pakistani had a serious elbow operation in the UK. Last year, Nadeem had a niggling knee operation done and skipped the Hangzhou Asian Games where Chopra won the gold. The outdoor javelin season starts with the Doha leg of the Diamond League in May.

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