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Arshad eyes gold at Tokyo Olympics

LAHORE: Javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem, a direct qualifier for the Tokyo Olympics, says he resumed his training two months ago after an eight-month break due to Covid-19 restrictions.

“I resumed my training two months ago under the coaching of Ijaz Bukhari and by the grace of God I am throwing javelin at a distance of 86-metres plus, which I did at the South Asian Games to directly qualify for the Tokyo Olympics,” Arshad said while addressing a press conference along with Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) president Akram Sahi here on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old Arshad said due to Covid-19 restrictions there was a lack of international competitions but added that he was determined to do give his best.

He said the Pakistan Sports Board and the AFP had chalked up a training plan for him and his preparations in this regard were well on target.

During training, Arshad added, his main focus was to make himself mentally strong as it was an important factor on any competition day.

“I am also practising to throw javelin [both] with and against the wind as the speed and direction of air on the day of the event will play a vital role,” the athlete underlined.

The Khanewal-born Arshad said he had set the target to throw the javelin at 90-plus metres to ensure gold medal for Pakistan at the Olympics.

Meanwhile, Akram said the AFP had selected Kazakhstan as the venue for Arshad’s training, but due to Covid-19 restrictions the flights had been suspended. “However, in order to keep Arshad prepared, online training sessions with Kazakhstan coach Victor have been arranged for which all the necessary equipment has been provided to Arshad,” Akram added.

To a question, the AFP president said the disaffiliation of his federation from the Pakistan Olympic Association would not create any hurdle in the way of Arshad to represent the country in Tokyo. He said under the IOC charter, athletes could represent their nation, under its own flag, in all cases.

He said the AFP did not need the POA affiliation, saying it already had the affiliation with all the international athletics bodies.

But when asked as he had contested the POA president elections twice his role as opposition leader in the POA could play a positive role for promoting sports, Akram said to sit at any forum at the cost of honour and integrity was not acceptable to him.

He said the POA should reply to the allegations, levelled against it, of the misuse of foreign funds.

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