Arshad Nadeem and Neeraj Chopra after Men’s Javelin Throw final© AFP
Competing with the Tokyo Olympics Gold medal winner, Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem bagged the second spot on the podium at the World Athletics Championships in the Javelin Throw final. It was Neeraj who once again bagged the top spot, earning his maiden World Championships gold. But, in a sport that has traditionally been dominated by European countries, the top two spots went to India and Pakistan — two Asian countries. As the focus now shifts to the Asian Games and the 2024 Paris Olympics, Pakistan’s Arshad feels India and Pakistan will once again finish 1-2 in next year’s quadrennial event.
Nadeem, speaking to media after the final in Budapest, was full of praise for Neeraj, with whom he has excellent camaraderie.
“So happy for Neeraj bhai!. India and Pakistan are 1 and 2 in the world. Inshallah, we will be 1-2 at the Olympics,” Nadeem said.
“I met Arshad [Nadeem] after the event and we were happy that both our countries are making serious strides in the sporting arena. We were also happy to have prevailed over our European counterparts, who are stronger and very competitive. The rivalry between our two nations in sports will always be there. I feel the win here will raise the expectations of fans going into the Asian Games. We will meet again in Hangzhou,” Neeraj had said at the post-match press conference.
Neeraj, having completed the full circle of honours at the age of 25, took silver last year but he stamped his mark on the final early on with his winning throw coming in the second round.
Pakistan’s Commonwealth Games champion Arshad Nadeem took silver with a throw of 87.82m with the Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch taking the bronze in 86.67m.
The flamboyant Chopra — one of three Indians to reach the final — fell to the ground after his final throw and kissed the surface before charging towards the crowd.
Germany’s Julian Weber finished fourth and held his hands to his face in disappointment, as his country finished the championships without a medal.
At the first world championships in 1983, communist East Germany topped the medals table.
With AFP inputs
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