Record-breaking Arshad Nadeem wins SAG gold to qualify for Olympics
KARACHI: The country’s premier javelin thrower and 2018 Asian Games bronze medallist Arshad Nadeem on Saturday enlivened Pakistan’s journey in the 13th South Asian Games in Nepal through his records-filled world-level performance which also put him in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
In Kathmandu, the 22-year-old managed a stunning 86.29 metre throw to not only better his own national record of 83.65 metre which he had set during the 33rd National Games in Peshawar last month but also smashed South Asian Games record of 82.23 metre which was made by his close rival Neeraj Chopra of India during the 2016 South Asian Games in Guwahati, India.
With his feat, Arshad also met the 2020 Olympics qualifying standard of 85 metre and booked a seat in the world’s most prestigious event, a rare achievement for any Pakistani athlete in decades.
He is the fourth Pakistani player, after three shooters, who made it to the Olympics so far. Arshad was also congratulated by the IPC minister for his achievement.
“I had in mind to qualify for Olympics and thanks God I succeeded today,” Arshad told ‘The News’ from Kathmandu.
Arshad’s throws break-up was 78.74, X, 86.29, 83.17, 85.86 and 82.13. India’s Shivpal Singh claimed silver with 84.16m. His break-up remained 80.24, 84.16, X, X, 82.63 and 83.59.
Arshad’s was the fifth gold in athletics so far. Olympian Najma Parveen, sprinter Uzair-ur-Rehman, Olympian Mehboob Ali and 110m hurdler Mohammad Naeem are the other national athletes who have already lifted gold in Nepal.
The country also got bronze in men’s 4X400m relay. Pakistan was represented by Umar Sadat, Mehboob Ali, Abdul Moeed and Nokar Hussain.
Pakistan, featuring Sahb e Asra, Najma Parveen, Aneela Gulzar and Rabia Ashiq, got silver in 4x400m women’s relay by clocking 3:41.74 seconds. Pakistan’s Aneela Gulzar finished sixth in women’s 800 metre race by clocking 2:18.52.
Pakistan’s Sohail Amir could not finish the 42km marathon. Mohammad Ikram ended sixth in the men’s 800m with a timing of 1:54.19.
Meanwhile, Pakistan also got two gold in wrestling and one in weightlifting to stretch the country’s overall gold-tally to 24 in the seven-nation spectacle which will last till December 10.
Till filing of this report, Pakistan had secured 24 gold, 30 silver and 42 bronze and were at fourth place.
India (110-69-35), Nepal (43-34-65) and Sri Lanka (30-57-83) had stuck to the top three positions.
In wrestling, Youth Olympics bronze medallist Inayatullah (70kg) and Abdul Rehman (79kg) lifted gold medals. The other two wrestlers Tayab Raza (97kg) and Zaman Anwar (125kg) had to be content with silvers.
The country’s top grappler Mohammad Inam, Mohammad Bilal and Umair Butt will compete on Sunday (today).
In squash, Farhan Mehboob, Faiza Zafar and Madina Zafar claimed bronze in men’s and women’s singles, respectively. In tennis, Pakistan took four more bronze with Aqeel Khan and Muzammil Murtaza lifting them in men’s singles, while the pair of Aqeel Khan and Aisam Qureshi and Abid and Muzammil Muratza winning them in men’s doubles.
In weightlifting, Pakistan got its third gold when Usman Amjad Rathore won the 102kg title with a total of 330kg (150+180). Weightlifter Rabia Razzaq also won silver in women’s 87kg with 141kg (63+78). This is the first time that national women weightlifters are competing at international level. In women’s 64kg, Pakistan’s Sonia Azmat had finished fourth on Friday with 143kg (62+81).
The pair of Ghufran Adil and Nadra Raees claimed another bronze for Pakistan in air rifle 10m mixed event by beating Nepal’s shooters. In the rapid fire pistol 10m team event, Pakistan secured silver with the team of GM Bashir, Khalil Akhtar and Maqbool Tabassum collecting 1699 out of 1800 total points.
In handball, Pakistan’s men’s team qualified for the final after beating Bangladesh 28-17 in the semi-final. Pakistan will meet India in the final on Sunday (today).
“There is a fifty-fifty winning chance,” Pakistan Handball Federation’s (PHF) president Mohamamd Shafiq told ‘The News’ from Pokhara.
However, Pakistan’s women handball team was beaten by Nepal 22-21 in the semi-final. Pakistan will now face Bangladesh in the third-place game on Sunday.