Pakistan’s star javelin thrower Arshad qualifies for the World Championship finals

By our correspondent

OREGON, US: : It happened which was expected. However it did not happen the way it was expected. The country’s premier javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem blasted his way into the finals when he finished overall ninth among the top 12 athletes who qualified for the Sunday’s finals of the men’s javelin throw event of the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, US, early Friday.

In the qualification stage Group B competitions Arshad managed an 81.71 metres throw to qualify for the finals.

Arshad, who shot to global fame when he finished fifth in the last year’s Tokyo Olympics, did not take a bright start to his journey as he fell well short in his first two throws, managing only 76.15 metres and 74.38 metres. And he was in danger. However the Asian Games bronze medallist did well in his third attempt, recording an 81.71m throw to finish fourth in his group and ninth overall to make it to the finals. The qualification standard was 83.50m but only four athletes could beat that. As per rules top 12 had to progress to the finals and Arshad was there in that frame.

Arshad had failed to make it to the finals during the World Championships in Doha in 2019.

“He did well,” Athletics Federation of Pakistan’s (AFP) secretary general Mohammad Zafar told ‘The News’ from Oregon.

“Although he did not do well in his first two throws and I don’t know why. We backed him and encouraged him. We told him that it was his last chance and he did well in his third attempt and qualified which was great to see,” Zafar said.

Before going for the event Arshad was feeling pain in his elbow and when Zafar was asked whether he felt any pain during or after his throws he said that he did not.

“No he feels fit and did not feel any sort of pain both during the throws and after,” Zafar said.

“Dr Ali Sher Bajwa is with us and he has treated him well and the qualification stage went well,” Zafar said.

Asked whether there was any issue for Arshad handling the pressure situation without a coach Zafar said he handled it well.

“He is a mature athlete now and has performed at the biggest stages and knows how to play in such situations. We were there to back him,” said the official.

“We were expecting South African coach Terseus Liebenberg to handle him during the event but he could not come with his South African side on medical grounds as he had been advised by his doctor against travelling,” he said.

Zafar hoped Arshad would do well in the finals.

“Finals will altogether be a new event and we are confident Arshad will do well,” the official said.

Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra of India showed his class as he topped his Group A with a super throw of 88.39m.

Chopra is a huge medal hope for India in the global event and has been very consistent, having won the Olympics title as well as Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and Asian Championships crowns.

Neeraj was not the only Indian who qualified for the finals. Rohit Yadav, the 21 years old national champion, also managed to make it to the finals with a throw of 80.42 metre.

The reigning world champion Anderson Peters of Grenada topped the top 12 list with a throw of 89.91m. He did it with his first throw like Neeraj who finished second with 88.39 metres while Germany’s Julian Weber finished third with 87.28m.

Jakub Valdlejch of Czech Republic, who also has to his credit silvers in the World Championships and Olympics, came fourth with 85.23m throw. He was followed at the fifth place by the World Championship silver medallist and African champion Ihab Abdelrahman of Egypt with a throw of 83.41m, Finland’s national champion Oliver Helander finished sixth with a throw of 82.41m, Roderich Genki Dean of Japan sealed seventh position with a throw of 82.34m which was also his season’s best.

Curtis Thompson of USA finished eighth with an effort of 81.73m and Arshad of Pakistan finished ninth with a throw of 81.71.

The world under-20 championship bronze medallist Andrian Mardare of Moldova finished tenth with 80.83m, Rohit Yadav of India ended 11th with a throw of 80.42m and Lassi Etelatalo of Finland finished 12th with an effort of 80.03m.

Neeraj topped Group A and was followed by Jakub and Ihab while Peters led Group B and was followed by Weber and Oliver Helander.

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