Arshad Nadeem on Wednesday kept Pakistan‘s hopes of its maiden medal at Tokyo Olympics alive as he went through to the final of the men’s javelin with a throw of 85.16 metres.
The feat made him the first Pakistani to qualify for the final of any track and field event at the Olympics.
Nadeem’s throw was third-best of the day behind India’s Neeraj Chopra (86.65m) and world leader Germany’s Johannes Vetter (85.64m).
The 24-year-old thrower from Khanewal finished above Germany’s Julian Weber and Czech’s Jakub Vadlejch to win his group and a place in the medal round — a performance that got his coach out of his seat applauding.
In his first attempt, the 24-year-old Pakistani athlete could reach the 78.5m mark but in the second attempt, Arshad created history with a throw of 85.16m that also placed him on top of group B.
Arshad Nadeem is the first-ever Pakistani athlete to qualify for the final of any track and field event in the Olympics.
Pakistanis on social media are looking towards Nadeem to make the nation proud by ending its Olympic drought and bagging the first medal of the Tokyo Olympics 2020 when he performs in the final round on August 7.
Azhar Mashwani called on the Pakistani athlete to bring home a “long-awaited Olympic medal”.
Akber Ali seemed confident that Arshad Nadeem would make the country proud on Saturday, saying that “it’s coming home”.
Nadeem will be joined by Finland’s Lassi Eteltalo, whose first attempt of 84.50m, a season’s best, granted him passage to the medal round.
Speaking to the media after qualifying for the final, Nadeem said he was thankful for the support given to him by Pakistanis. He also appealed to the nation for more prayers so that he can given a stellar performance in the final.
The athlete also thanked his coach for his tireless efforts in training him for the Olympics. “We will keep performing like this,” he said, ending with an emphatic “Pakistan Zindabad”.
The 2012 Olympic champion and bronze medallist five years ago in Rio, Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago failed to advance, as he fell short with a throw of 79.33m.
Nadeem has a personal-best throw of 86.38m, which he achieved in April during his gold medal run at the Imam Raza Athletics Cup in Iran.
He is one of the few Pakistani athletes to secure direct qualification for the Olympics, thanks to his gold medal-winning throw at the South Asian Games in December 2019.