Pakistan javelin-thrower sharpens hopes of rare Olympic medal


Arshad Nadeem once dreamed of becoming a star cricketer, but after switching to athletics he has the opportunity to grab Pakistan’s first individual Olympic medal in more than 30 years.

“Right now there is a chance for me,” Nadeem told AFP as he prepared for next month’s Covid-delayed Tokyo Games. “If I throw my best then, God willing, I will win a medal.”

Since its first Olympics in London in 1948, Pakistan have won three gold, three silver and two bronze medals in field hockey.

The bronzes won by wrestler Mohammad Bashir in Rome in 1960 and boxer Hussain Shah in Seoul in 1988 are Pakistan’s only individual Olympic medals.

But ahead of next month’s games, Nadeem has the world’s sixth-best javelin throw of the year — a personal best 86.38 metres achieved in April in Iran, where he was forced to travel in order to seek top-flight competition.

The strapping 24-year-old, who ditched cricket for athletics as a teenager, will face tougher opponents in Tokyo, but he said he won’t be fazed. “I don’t look at any of the other javelin throwers… I don’t focus on them,” he said after a training session in Lahore.

“I focus on myself and how I throw and I try my best — and that is how God honours me.”
– Family first –
Nadeem already has a taste for gold, having stood atop the podium at last year’s South Asian Games in Nepal.—AFP

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