'Neeraj is also like our son. I, as a Pakistani, promise you...': Arshad Nadeem's coach makes big comment on India star

Published on Aug 08, 2022 06:42 PM IST

Pakistan javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem won a gold medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games on Sunday, breaching the 90m mark to secure top podium finish.

Neeraj Chopra; Arshad Nadeem(AP)
Neeraj Chopra; Arshad Nadeem(AP)

Pakistan's javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem broke the 90m barrier on Sunday as he clinched a historic gold in the men's event at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Nadeem became the first South Asian to breach the barrier, as he registered a best throw of 90.18m to clinch a top podium finish, above current world champion Anderson Peters of Grenada. Olympic champion and India's star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra didn't participate in the event on Sunday after he was ruled out due to a groin injury, sustained during the World Championships last month.

Arshad and Neeraj have shared a healthy rivalry that goes back all the way to 2016, when both competed in the South Asian Games. In the previous edition of the Commonwealth Games, the Indian thrower secured a gold while Nadeem took home the silver medal. Both share a good camaraderie off the field, and Nadeem's coach Syed Hussain Bukhari is an admirer of Neeraj too. In fact, he stated that he would want to watch Neeraj play in Pakistan as well.

“Most of the time, Arshad trains at the Jinnah Stadium in Islamabad and Lahore too, my wish is to see Arshad and Neeraj compete at a packed stadium in Lahore or Islamabad. Neeraj is also like our son. I as a Pakistani promise you that if Neeraj wins, we will shower him the same love we showered on Milkha Singh Ji when he won against Abdul Khaliq in Lahore in 1960. Athletes share a common bond of love for the sports," Bukhari told Indian Express.

The Pakistan coach further stated that Nadeem's consistent performances over the past few years have inspired many youngsters from the country to take up javelin.

“After Arshad’s Asian Games bronze and Tokyo Olympics qualification topping, I can say I get to see 30-40 javelin throwers in almost each training ground in Lahore. In recent months, I have seen youth coming from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and from near the Pakistan-China border areas come to enquire about trials at Lahore. What Neeraj did for India, Arshad’s Olympic participation and today’s record can do the same in Pakistan,” he said.

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