Tokyo Olympics: Who is Arshad Nadeem? 5 things to know about the Pakistani Javelin Thrower
Here's everything you need to know about Arshad Nadeem who topped his group of the qualification much like Neeraj Chopra
Pakistani javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem quickly became the talk of the town after throwing his javelin 85.16m to secure direct qualification for the final. Earlier in the day, Neeraj Chopra had topped his group and led the charts, Arshad did the same in his group as well.
The two athletes, who have competed together several times before, will now clash in the final of the Javelin Throw on August 7. Ahead of that blockbuster event, here's everything you need to know about Arshad Nadeem who became a popular name in India overnight.
1. Nadeem is the only Pakistani track and field athlete to directly qualify for the Olympics
In the history of Pakistan's athletics, Arshad Nadeem became the first to qualify directly for the Olympics. He achieved direct entry by throwing a distance of 86.29m at the South Asian Games in December 2019. Nadeem also secured a South Asian Games record with that attempt.
2. Most of his training and preparation took place in Pakistan
Arshad Nadeem is different from most of his competitors in the field. Most of them have had access to world-class training facilities and instructors abroad. On the other hand, most of Arshad's training has taken place in Pakistan.
He's coached by Fayyaz Bokhari locally. Although he left to train in China in 2020, he had to return to his country and hear about the Olympics getting postponed because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
3. Nadeem also pursued interest in other sports
The 24-year-old tried his hand at various sports in school including cricket, football, and badminton. He pursued cricket passionately as a kid and also played in several district-level tournaments. He switched to athletics in the seventh grade.
Before settling to Javelin throw, he also pursued shot-put and discus throw.
4. Arshad had contracted COVID earlier this year
Did you know that when the Coronavirus outbreak began, Arshad was barely a few hundred kilometres away from Wuhan? However, he managed to return to his country safely before all hell broke loose. He did contract COVID though this year and battled it successfully.
"It is all going to be about the mental strength. I know this because I have gotten back on my feet after getting Covid-19 two months ago. It is about the mind more now at this point," said Arshad.
5. He had to lose up to five kilograms before returning to training
Arshad Nadeem, a young father of two, had to focus on his family when he was home during the COVID-imposed restrictions. As a result, he had become overweight and had to lose up to five kilos before he could return to serious training. It took him less time than what his coach had estimated though.
"I do focus on what I have in front of me. When I was home, my family was my focus. I had put on four to five kilograms and my coach was really worried because he thought it would take more than two months for me to even get into shape. However, I promised him that he will see the results sooner and in less than three months, I was peaking in form again, which is when we thought of bettering the record," said Arshad.
He returned to international competition with an 86.38 throw at the International Imam Reza Cup.