Neeraj Chopra said that he was happy to Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem reached the finals at the as it was good for Asian javelin throw that an Indian and Pakistani had done so well at the Olympics.
Nadeem topped Group B while Neeraj won Group A. (AP Photo)
- Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem qualified as the winner of Group B with a throw of 85.16m
- Nadeem eventually finished fifth with a best throw of 84.62m while Neeraj won gold with a best throw of 87.58m
- Neeraj said that it was a great sign for Asian javelin throw that an India and Pakistani had done so well at the Olympics
Neeraj Chopra had already claimed a bit of history when he topped the qualification round of men’s javelin throw at the Tokyo Olympics. While he qualified for the final with a throw of 86.65m, Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem qualified as the winner of Group B with a throw of 85.16m. Nadeem eventually finished fifth with a best throw of 84.62m in the final while Neeraj won a historic gold with a best throw of 87.58m.
Neeraj said that it was a great sign for Asian javelin throw that an India and Pakistani had done so well at the Olympics. “A medal really depends upon your luck at the time. I had at the time said that it is great that we both reached the final. You get Asian throwers performing like this very rarely. Europeans are normally very dominant. It was the first time India and Pakistan reached the final. It is all based on hard work and you have to respect that. The medal did not come but I told him all the best and work hard for a medal next time,” Nadeem told India Today’s Rajdeep Sardesai on Wednesday.
Neeraj Chopra on Saturday became India’s first Olympic gold winner in athletics and only the second from the nation to win the top prize in an individual event at the Games after Abhinav Bindra (2008 Beijing Games).
Johannes Vetter was Neeraj Chopra’s biggest rival in the event and was tipped to be the hot favourite to win the gold medal, having thrown 90-plus on as many as 7 occasions in 2021.
But in Tokyo, Vetter struggled to hit 85m-mark consistently, let alone bring up his 8th 90-plus throw of the year. In one of the biggest upsets of the Games, Vetter, who has a personal best of 97.76m, failed to make the top 8 of the 12-man final on Saturday.
“Vetter is the top-ranked thrower and this year he has performed very well. But that day, his body language was down, he wasn’t at his best. I was just focussing on my throw though, even if he had done well I don’t think I would have taken any pressure. Maybe I might have even put in a bigger throw if he was performing at his best,” he said.
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