'True champion': Arshad Nadeem wins Pakistan's hearts even if medal eludes

Published August 7, 2021
In this file photo, Arshad Nadeem competes in the qualification round of the men's javelin throw at the 2020 Summer Olympics on Aug 4.  — Reuters
In this file photo, Arshad Nadeem competes in the qualification round of the men's javelin throw at the 2020 Summer Olympics on Aug 4. — Reuters

All of Pakistan was on the edge of their seat, their eyes glued to the television screen as Arshad Nadeem competed in the final of the men's javelin throw event at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday.

But even though Nadeem missed out on an Olympic medal and finished fifth, Pakistanis were quick to recognise the athlete's hard work and lauded him for making the country proud.

Senator Faisal Javed Khan said that Nadeem had tried his best, adding that a "true champion is a true champion".

"They go fight and win or lose, give it their all. You have already made the entire nation proud of you. Better luck next time!"

"#ArshadNadeem you WIN... you defied all the odds stacked against you. Absence of facilities, coaching, organisation [...] you were driven with the passion to make your country proud. You did it in your OWN [...] YOU WIN," said singer and television anchor Fakhre Alam.

Barrister Taimur Malik prayed that Nadeem's journey to the Olympic finals would inspire a new generation of athletes in Pakistan. "My four-year-old now wants to be a javelin athlete," he said.

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry thanked the athlete for giving the country hope and going so far in the Olympics. "Pakistan is proud of you," he said.

Cricketer Shadab Khan said that Nadeem would "definitely" have come back with a medal if he had been provided the right kind of support and financial backing.

"You are a Pakistani hero and I once again pledge to support our Olympic athletes," he said.

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz said that it is not about winning or losing. "It's about getting out there and putting up a fight. That is what makes you a winner! We are all super proud of you champ!"

"Well done #ArshadNadeem you're a king!" said journalist Zarrar Khuhro.

Pakistan Super League franchise Islamabad United's General Manager Rehanul Haq highlighted the scale of Nadeem's achievement at the Olympics.

He qualified for the final round ahead of the world's number one, he said. He added that Pakistanis should be proud of Nadeem.

"He has given us hope of a medal, given us joy, put us on the world map for athletics. He has done so without support, without [the] facilities his competitors had. Arshad Nadeem is a true Pakistani hero."

Anchorperson Rauf Klasra thanked the man from Mian Channu for fighting till the end and making the country proud.

"You may have not won [a] medal but you won our hearts. Your presence at such a big event means a lot for all of us. Congratulations for fifth position," he said.

Former Pakistan bowling coach Azhar Mahmood said that an athlete wants to compete, to give his best and represent his team and country to the best of his ability.

"[Nadeem] you have done so. We are proud of you," he said.

"#ArshadNadeem for your great performance, you are a star!" said journalist Shiraz Hassan.

Journalist and YouTuber Asad Ali Toor offered words of comfort for the athlete. "You won our hearts, [a] medal doesn’t matter," he said.

Thanking Nadeem for his performance at the Olympics, producer Adeel Raja said: "We need more focus on sports less on other stuff."

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