Arshad claims gold in Iran to keep Pakistan’s Olympics hopes alive

ISLAMABAD, Apr 13 (APP): Javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem once again raised Pakistan’s hopes to win medal at the Olympics as he racked up gold medal in the 1st International Imam Reza International Cup at Mashhad, Iran on late Monday.

“Arshad has claimed the gold medal in Iran, marking 86.38 meters to improve his previous [South Asian Games] record,” Maj. Gen. (r) Muhammad Akram Sahi, the president of Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) said on Tuesday.

“This is an outstanding performance. All this is part of his Olympic campaign wherein he will be at the peak,” Sahi told APP on phone.

The 24-year-old Arshad rose to prominence in 2019, when he set South Asian Games (SAG) record in the javelin throw with a distance of 86.29 metres, earning a direct spot in the Olympics. The Olympics qualification standard for the javelin throw is 85 meters.

Sahi said the federation was doing its best to prepare the athlete to clinch medal at the Tokyo Olympics, taking place from July 23 to August 8.

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“He has been continuously training hard during the Covid-19 lockdown period. His Pakistani coach Fiaz Bokhari has been with him throughout this time and remained focused to hone his skills. We are satisfied and are optimistic he will earn medal at the coveted quadrennial event [Olympics],” he added.

According to Sahi, Arshad would fly to Turkey from Iran later Tuesday to attend a three-week Olympic training camp. “At the camp he will have the services of his Kazakh coach Viktor Yevsyukov. He has already been getting online training from Viktor, which has been very productive.

“We wanted to send him to Kazakhstan much before but due to coronavirus-enforced travel limitations, it could not become possible.

“Now, he will get the opportunity to train from Viktor at the camp. We are sure the training stint at Turkey will go a long way in further polishing his skills and improving his techniques,” Sahi reckoned.

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Viktor is the 1987 World Championship silver medallist. His own best record in javelin throw has been 93.70 metre in the old model measurements, while according to the new model that record is 85.16m.

Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) Dr. Fehmida Mirza and Director General Pakistan Sports Board Col. (r) Asif Zaman have also expressed pleasure at Arshad’s accomplishment in Iran.

In a statement, they congratulated Arshad on winning the gold. They expressed the hope that he would carry the momentum to the Olympics and win medal for the country after 29 years.

They said that Arshad’s performance reflected the fact that his preparation for the Olympics was moving in the right direction.