Arshad Nadeem ends his Tokyo Olympics journey at 5th position in the Men’s Javelin Throw Final.
In his final attempt, the 23-year-old overstepped the line that immediately raised the red flag signaling the attempt as a foul. In javelin, if the athlete touches the lines marking the runway during their throw, it is considered a foul. Arshad’s Javelin had traveled a distance of 84.63m that placed him at the fifth position.
Arshad’s inspiration and rival Neeraj Chopra has won the gold medal for his throw at 87.58m. The silver and bronze medals will go to Czech Republic’s J. Vadlejch (86.67m) and V. Veselý (85.44m) respectively.
Immediate disappointment and regret could be seen on Nadeem’s face as his dream ended with the rise of the flag.
However, the nation has been extremely proud of Arshad nevertheless as he made history by becoming the first athlete since 1948 to reach the Olympics final of a track and field event.
Arshad Nadeem has been the top trending subject on Twitter as the young athlete has made the entire nation his fan in just a number of days. Before the morning of 4Th August, nobody knew who Arshad Nadeem was, and by the end of 7th August, he had won the hearts of the entire nation.
From politicians to the common man, everyone has found a new national hero in the shape of Arshad Nadeem.
— PTI (@PTIofficial) August 7, 2021
UNREAL effort Arshad Nadeem, you make us all super proud! pic.twitter.com/N9KRQh2Gam
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) August 7, 2021
You tried your best @ArshadJavelin !! Welldone. A true champion is a true champion. They go fight and win or lose, give it their all. You have already made the entire nation proud of you. Better luck next time! #ArshadNadeem#PakistanZindabad
— Faisal Javed Khan (@FaisalJavedKhan) August 7, 2021
Its not about winning or losing. It's about getting out there and putting up a fight. That is what makes you a winner! We are all super proud of you champ! ♥️🇵🇰#ArshadNadeem pic.twitter.com/gakkjHy2Fy
— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) August 7, 2021
"The whole nation is praying for the success of #ArshadNadeem in competition of #JavelinThrow. InshAllah he will make us all proud today" – CM Punjab @UsmanAKBuzdar #Olympics #Javelin #Pak pic.twitter.com/pN0KYqZK1I
— Government of Punjab (@GovtofPunjabPK) August 7, 2021
Many pointed out the lack of services and facilities provided to the athletes in Pakistan as compared to other countries. The president of the National Olympic Committee Mr. Syed Arif Hasan has also been brought in the discussion.
Read More: A gloomy tale of Pakistan and the Olympics
This debate has been ongoing ever since Talha Talib came 5th in the Men’s weightlifting category as he also talked about the lack of facilities and resources provided to professional athletes and sportsmen.
— Rehan Ulhaq (@Rehan_ulhaq) August 7, 2021
— Suqlain⚓ (@suqlainijaz) August 7, 2021
Arshad Nadeem hails from Mian Chunnu, a small village in Khanewal district. He was an exceptionally good athlete from a very young age. During his school years, he played cricket, football, badminton, and athletics and excelled in it. His dream was to play cricket that took him to the district-level tap-ball tournaments.
One day, Rashid Ahmed Saqi saw him play during an athletics competition. Soon afterward, Arshad received a letter from Rashid. “He had asked me to meet him, and soon took me under his apprenticeship. He had a history of developing sportspeople in the division and I was very proud to be training under him.” Arshad recalled during an interview.
After some years, Arshad, being inspired by his elder two brothers, decided to follow in their footsteps towards athletics leaving behind his dream of becoming a cricketer.
“Leaving cricket behind was not easy, but it turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. My father was a laborer, we didn’t have the required resources or contacts to make it pro in cricket. My school’s PT [physical training] teachers Ajmal and Zafar looked after me well and helped me adjust to the change.”
Initially, Arshad pursued discus, shot-put, and javelin throw but soon left the first two to focus completely on the javelin.
From there onwards, Arshad began to rise as a powerful athlete who not only won numerous awards at the national level but also competed and won at the international level. 2019 proved to be his lucky year as on December 7th history unfolded as Arshad smashed the national record with a throw of 86.29m, clinching gold and eclipsing Chopra’s games record set in 2016 by four meters in the South Asian Games.
Tokyo Olympics was just the beginning of what this athlete has to offer. With the right attention, he can go a long way ahead.