Pakistan’s javelin star came up with a heartfelt message for his good friend and competitor Neeraj Chopra after both the stars dominated the men’s javelin qualification round at the World Athletics Championships 2023 in Budapest. Arshad Nadeem, on his comeback from a knee injury, hurled the spear to his season-best 86.79m to secure a spot in the final of the prestigious global meet.
He was next only to India’s Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra, who topped the qualification mark with a best effort of 88.77m, his season best.
India had as many as 3 athletes in the men’s javelin final as DP Manu and Kishore Jena joined Neeraj. The 12-man field on Sunday in Budapest for the final will be dominated by Asians.
And Arshad Nadeem, who has always looked up to Neeraj Chopra, said he wants Neeraj to do well while expressing confidence that he would be able to achieve his target in the big final on Sunday.
Best of luck to Neeraj. Neeraj bhai, aap bhi aachha karen, hum bhi accha karen. Aapka naam hai world me, hamara bhi naam aye (Neeraj brother, you also do well, and I hope I also do well. You have a name in the world. I hope I also get my name in the world,” Arshad said, as quoted by Sportstar.
In fact, Arshad clicked a photograph with Neeraj Chopra right after the qualification and shared it on Instagram, flaunting their off-field camaraderie which began from their junior days. At the Asian Games in 2018, Neeraj and Arshad stood on the podium and shared a warm embrace in a heartwarming moment.
They have crossed paths on numerous occasions, always maintaining a spirit of sportsmanship. When Nadeem was accused of tampering with Chopra’s spear during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Chopra quickly dismissed the controversy, stating that Nadeem was within his rights to use his javelin for practice.
ARSHAD HOPEFUL OF STRONG SHOW
Arshad won the Commonwealth Games Gold in Birmingham last year with a sensational throw of 90.18m, the best-ever throw by a South Asian in the sport. However, he underwent knee surgery earlier this year after having been troubled by his dodgy knee for sometime. He returned to action at the Pakistan National meet in May and won the Gold but the knee injury flared up again.
Arshad Nadeem missed the Asian Athletics Championships due to the knee injury and his chances were played down at the World Championships. His first throw of 70.63m raised concerns about his form at the highest level but he bounced back with throws of 81.53m and 86.79m.
Having finished 5th at the Tokyo Olympcs and the World Champioships last year, Arshad will be determined to win his maiden world meet medal on Sunday.
“My fight is with myself only. I did 90.18m at the Commonwealth Games last year and want to do better than that here. My body feels good. Inshallah, final me maza ayega,” he added.