KATHMANDU: Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem competes in the men’s javelin throw final at the South Asian Games on Saturday.—AFP
KATHMANDU: Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem competes in the men’s javelin throw final at the South Asian Games on Saturday.—AFP

KATHMANDU: Pakistan’s javelin throw star Arshad Nadeem made the nation proud when he claimed gold medal at the 13th South Asian Games (SAG) in Kathmandu on Saturday with a record throw of 86.48 metres.

Arshad in the process also created a South Asian Games record for men’s javelin throw. The feat also enabled the 22-year-old to become the first Pakistani in decades to directly qualify for next year’s Olympic Games taking place in Tokyo.

Pakistan on Saturday took their medals tally to 87, including 23 gold, 30 silver and 34 bronze, and are placed fourth. India lead the table with 214 medals (110 gold, 69 silver, 35 bronze). Nepal are second with 142 medals (43 gold, 34 silver, 65 bronze) followed by third-placed Sri Lanka with 170 medals (30 golds, 57 silver, 83 bronze).

Arshad was followed by India’s Shivpal Singh, who earned silver with an 84.16-metre throw. Sri Lanka’s Sumedha Jagath (74.97 metres) finished third to claim bronze medal.

The Khanewal-born Arshad in a video message expressed delight at the achievement.

“I am really happy because I’ve done a very good throw. It is a new national as well as SAG record,” he said.

The 2018 Asian Games bronze medallist said he was thankful to retired Maj Gen Akram Sahi, the president of the Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP), for extending full support to him for accomplishing the target.

“My trainer Imtiaz Hussain Bukhari has been imparting rigorous training to me,” Arshad said. “[Prior to SAG] the AFP sent me for six-month training in Malaysia and now I am being sent to China for another training programme to prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. I will bring more honours for my country by winning medal at the coveted event.”

Meanwhile, Pakistan claimed bronze medal in the men’s 400mx4 relay.

The Pakistan team comprising Umar Sadat, Mehboob Ali, Abdul Mueed and Nokar Hussain clocked 3:08.24 to take third spot. Sri Lanka (3:08.04) clinched gold medal in the event while India seized silver clocking 3:08.21.

Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2019