Tuesday, August 10, 2021
India’s golden boy Neeraj Chopra, who won the gold medal with a record 87.58-metre throw in javelin throw, wished Pakistan's hero Arshad Nadeem received a medal at the Tokyo Olympics too.
Nadeem recalled in an interview with The News in Tokyo that Chopra met him during the closing ceremony on Sunday and expressed his disappointment that he [Arshad Nadeem] could not win a medal.
“When we were going for the closing ceremony, Chopra came to me and said that it was bad luck that I did not manage a good throw in the finals,” Nadeem said.
Standing on the winning stand, Chopra was followed by Czech Republic's Jakub Vadlejch and Vitezslav Vesely, who claimed silver and bronze medals respectively. Nadeem trailed Vesely with his best throw of 84.62m, 0.82m. Chopra became India’s first historic athletic gold winner.
Talking to Indian media in Tokyo, the 23-year-old golden boy said it would have been good if the Pakistani athlete had won a medal as this would have led Asia to be on the map. "[It would have been] good to have Nadeem on the podium too. Asia ka naam ho jata [Asia would have made a name]," Chopra said.
“I felt that it was wrong to indulge in India-Pakistan rhetoric here [in Tokyo] at the Olympics because all countries are here. It [the rivalry] is there in cricket because only 8-10 countries play the game. It’s fine."
Chopra praised Nadeem's calibre in the game. "His [Arshad Nadeem’s] performance was very good too. But he couldn’t win a medal," he told the Indian media. "It would have been good if he too had won from an Asian country."
Recalling the proud moments of creating the history of becoming the first Indian to claim the gold in athletics in the Olympics, Chopra told his country's media that after he won the coveted medal, Nadeem congratulated him for his honour.
“He congratulated me when we sat together in the bus. He was telling me about that photo from the Asian Games [which went viral] and he said that people in Pakistan equate us to Abdul Khaliq and Milkha Singh,” the Indian athlete said.
Nadeem's ranking soared to fourth on the points table at one point in the competition but he was soon surpassed by rival athletes. During the final round, Nadeem made 82.91m on his opening attempt and threw 81.98m on the second. But his final throw was declared a foul to land him in the fifth position.
While Chopra's two of three attempts were adjudged as fouls, his record powerful 87.58m throw got him the gold medal.
Nadeem shared a winning podium with Chopra at the Asian Games in 2018 when Chopra claimed gold with a mighty 88.06m throw and Pakistan's track and field athlete had a bronze medal around his neck after throwing 80.75m.