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Moving on without official support

Pakistan has got a real talent after decades in the shape of Arshad Nadeem. Every effort should be made to groom him into a world class athlete

Moving on without official support

Pakistan’s premier javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem once again proved that he has enormous potential and can achieve international glory.

The 2018 Asian Games bronze medallist early this week managed a throw of 81.52 metres to set a new national record in the World Athletics Championships at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha. It was in qualification stage of the global event that Mian Channu-born athlete surpassed his previous best throw of 80.75 metres which had fetched him the 2018 Asian Games bronze.

Arshad made just two attempts. He started the global event with groin stress, managed the record throw in his first attempt which aggravated his stress. His second attempt was not convincing and he could not attempt his third throw, according to Arshad, because of pain.

The global event acted as 2020 Olympics qualifiers. Although the record throw was not enough for Arshad to qualify for the finals of the world showpiece it showed the athlete has been improving. The career-best in the global event is a big plus for Arshad.

Arshad needs to manage an 85m throw if he is to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He still has to compete in the South Asian Games and a few other events and can press for the seat.

If he did not earn his Olympics seat still Arshad deserves attention.

The former Asian Junior Championships bronze medallist and former IAAF Under-20 world No3 is just 22 years old. If investment is made in him then he can become a world beater. Pakistan has got a real talent after decades and every effort should be made to get benefit of this talent.

If we invest in Arshad and he goes on to bring major titles for Pakistan then it will leave a very positive impression not only on athletics but also on the rest of the Olympic sports.

Arshad did not get any special training ahead of the World Championships. During the last one year he mostly remained idle. And it was only near the end that Pakistan Sports Board held a camp at Lahore for the country’s top athletes that helped Arshad to prepare for the World Championships.

The PSB should take care of this athlete as he can go a long way. During an interview with me a few days ago Arshad said that he can play for ten more years. And if he maintains his super fitness then he can play for 15 more years. If this is the case then we should focus on him as he is our future. I hope he can compete with the world’s best if he is given quality training under a qualified foreign coach.

Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) chief Major General (retd) Akram Sahi has talked to German Athletics Association chief and hopefully a good arrangement would be made for imparting training to Arshad, who also has to his credit a bronze medal in the 2016 South Asian Games and 2017 Baku Islamic Games.

Hiring the services of a good coach will resolve all issues of Arshad. The biggest issue is that due to lack of funds Pakistan cannot send with Arshad a coach when he leaves for competing in any event. He did not have a coach with him in Doha in the World Championships. He did not have a coach during the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.

Other leading sportsmen of Pakistan also face this issue. On October 8, Olympian Shah Hussain, our premier judoka, competed in Grand Slam in Brazil without a coach and a manager. He alone registered himself, attended draws and then fought. The country’s top karateka and 2020 Olympics prospect Saadi Abbas has been featuring in Olympic qualifiers without a coach. It is extremely unprofessional approach on the part of our sports authorities that we send an athlete to a big event without a coach. We have money for our own trips but we cannot afford a coach accompanying our leading athletes on foreign tours.

Other nations keep a complete team with their athletes in order to look after them and get the best out of them. I remember Shah Hussain also did not have a coach with him during the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games in which the Tokyo-based fighter won silver medal.

We should respect them so that they could impress themselves in international events.

The PSB during the last five to six years did not hire coaches for most of the leading disciplines and that is why Pakistan suffered a lot.

We have no foreign coach for wrestling and weightlifting in which Pakistan has been performing well. We need a volleyball coach for long term. Hiring coaches for short-term will be of no use. I can say confidently if we are able to look after carefully the coaching side of our athletes we will be able to see a drastic change in Pakistan’s performance in international circuit. The PSB or the Punjab government should also help Arshad establish a personal gym for himself at his home which will enable him to train when there is no official camp. He also needs javelin throw through which he could train at his village’s school when on leave.


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Alam Zeb Safi

Alam Zeb copy
The writer is a sports reporter at The News International. He may be reached at [email protected]

One comment

  • Great Arshad Nadeem once again proved this

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