In awe of Neeraj Chopra, Pakistan’s cricketer-turned-javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem hopes to emulate the Indian star some day even though he acknowledges that the gulf between them is too huge.
Nadeem settled for a bronze with a personal best of 80.75m at the ongoing Asian Games, where Neeraj was the undisputed star of the field with a national record throw of 88.06m last night.
The 20-year-old from Khanewal in Pakistan Punjab is aware that he has got a mountain to climb.
“Neeraj is an amazing talent. I have competed with him about eight times now including the SAFF Championships in India and Asian Junior Championships. But he has a foreign coach and I don’t. His achievements inspire me and my goal is to emulate him one day, may be beat him too,” Nadeem told PTI.
The imposing Pakistani played U-17 cricket at the state level before picking up the javelin three years ago.
He used to be a fast bowler, using both his arms while running in like Pakistan left-arm pacer Sohail Tanveer.
“I used both my arms but I was a right-hand fast bowler unlike Tanvir bhai. Like India, cricket is big in Pakistan but then I was introduced to javelin three years ago and ever since I have stopped following cricket.
“Jis raah jaana nahi uska rasta kya dekhna (why to even look at the path which you are not going to take), said Nadeem, who is from a humble rural family and is employed with WAPDA (the country’s electricity board).
Nadeem wants to discuss the tricks of the trade with the Indian but says Neeraj is not very forthcoming.
“Neerj bhai jawaab hee nahi dete (he hardly responds to my whatsapp messages). He has done that only a couple of times and after that he stopped. I don’t know the reason for that.
“May be he is busy. I just meet him during tournaments. He has got a great technique and I am sure he has got full support from the government. I have never trained overseas and that makes a huge difference,” he said.
Nadeem came to Guwahati for the South Asian Championships in 2016 and fell in love with India.
“It was a memorable trip. We came to Amritsar from Lahore by road. Aap log badi khatir or izzat karte ho (you people are great hosts). I would love to compete in India again,” Nadeem added.