'Standing on podium with a neighbour was beautiful': Pakistani javelin thrower Yasir Muhammad
AAC 2023: Javelin bronze medallist Yasir Muhammad speaks about his rivalry with silver medallist DP Manu of India, and insists his hair is not inspired by Neeraj Chopra.
Pakistan's Yasir Muhammad, whose duel with eventual silver medallist DP Manu of India in the javelin throw final at the 2023 Asian Athletics Championships on Sunday was one of the highlights of the five-day meet, said the 'competition between neighbours' fired them both up to win medals.
"To stand on the podium with a neighbour for the first time was wonderful. The competition between us made us better, there's some natural competition as we are from neighbouring countries. DP Manu was third before he came up with his best throw. It was more fun that both of us stood on the podium," Yasir told the NNIS crew after his bronze medal.
Asked to speak about his hair and if it is inspired by Neeraj Chopra, Yasir Muhammad said, "Neeraj Chopra is my favourite, I take inspiration from him because he won the Olympic gold, a first for someone from this part of the world, but the hair is of my own liking. Arshad Nadeem is of course my hero because he was the first from south Asia to cross the 90m mark.
On Sunday, DP Manu won the silver medal, his first international medal, after a dramatic fight-off against Pakistan's Yasir Muhammad, who had come up with a personal best to push down Manu into 3rd spot before the final throw of the night.
The competition grew fiercer and tense in the last round as Yasir's remarkable 79.93m throw pushed Manu down to the third spot momentarily. This was a new personal best for Yasir, who was competing in the absence of the injured Arshad Nadeem.
However, Manu didn't give up and, on his sixth attempt, he unleashed a spectacular 81.01m throw, breaching the 80m mark for the first time on the night.
Neeraj and Arshad gave India and Pakistan a javelin podium moment to treasure for centuries at the 2018 Asian Games. Five years later, as the javelin tradition continues to prosper in both countries, a new batch of javelin throwers are coming up who can recreate the moment at several podiums.