Neeraj Chopra and Arshad Nadeem after Men’s Javelin Throw final© AFP
Unarguably one of the greatest sportspersons India has produced, Neeraj Chopra completed a full circle in his sporting career, winning literally everything that he could. It was only a World Athletics Championship gold medal that was evading him, and on Sunday, the 25-year-old ticked that milestone off too. While Neeraj finished top of the podium, it was Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem who bagged the second spot, taking home a silver medal. After the event, Neeraj opened up on how the Men’s Javelin Throw final was perceived, especially back home, with the contest being dubbed as a battle between India and Pakistan.
Neeraj and Arshad have been competing with each other for a long time. Whenever the two have taken to the field together, it’s the Indian athlete who has come out on top. It was the same case in the World Athletics Championships where Neeraj emerged triumphant with a throw of 88.17 meters in the final. Nadeem, on the other hand, finished second with a throw of 87.82 meters.
“I don’t use my mobile much before the competition but today I looked at it and the first thing was India versus Pakistan. But if you see, European athletes are very dangerous and at any time they can produce a big throw. Not just Arshad, there is Jakub and Julian Webber. So till the last throw you have to keep thinking about other throwers. But the thing is there will be India vs Pakistan comparisons back home,” Chopra told reporters after the event in Budapest.
With the Asian Games being the next mega event where Arshad and Neeraj will be participating, the latter admitted that there will be more ‘India vs Pakistan’ buzz in the continental event.
“I feel at the Asian Games there will be more talk about India versus Pakistan, but I am just going to stay relaxed and healthy,” he said.
Neeraj also said that he was quite happy to see Arshad finish second, acknowledging how far both India and Pakistan have come in the event that was traditionally dominated by the European countries.
“I felt good that Arshad threw well and we discussed how both our countries are growing now. Earlier there were European athletes but now we have reached their level,” he further said.
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