- National champion will feature in the final round on August 7
Javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem kept Pakistan's hopes alive of securing at least one medal at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 after topping his group in the qualification round.
Arshad’s 85.16-metres throw was the third-best overall after India’s Neeraj Chopra (86.65m) and Germany's Johannes Vetter (85.64m).
Chopra, the 2018 Commonwealth champion, went through to the final of the men's javelin with his first throw of the morning, while world leader Vetter also advanced.
They will be joined by Finland's Lassi Etelätalo, whose first attempt of 84.50m, a season's best, granted him passage to the medal round. In the other qualifying group, Czech's Jakub Vadlejch produced a personal best throw of 84.93m guaranteeing him a place in the final on Saturday. Germany's Julian Weber punched his place into the medal round with an 84.41m throw.
Nadeem finished above Webber and Vadlejch to win his group and a place in the medal round that will take place on August 7.
Nadeem, the 24-year-old from Mian Chunnu in the Khanewal District of Punjab, received a standing ovation from his coach and is being widely celebrated in Pakistan that has already seen nine of its 10 athletes crash out already.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) official Twitter handle congratulated Nadeem for qualifying in the final round.
In a video message after the event, Nadeem thanked the people of Pakistan for their support and appealed to the nation for more prayers so that he can win a medal.
He was also thankful to his coach for his tireless efforts in training him for the Olympics. “We will keep performing like this,” he said, ending with an emphatic "Pakistan Zindabad.”
Nadeem won the national championship in 2015 and shot to prominence in 2016 when he won a bronze medal at the South Asian Games in Guwahati, with a 78.33m throw. He finished third at the 18th Asian Games 2018 in Jakarta to win a bronze medal by sending the spear for 80.75m.
Nadeem improved at the world championship at Doha, recording a 81.52m throw. At the National Games in 2019, he further improved with a throw of 83.65m.
He qualified for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 during the athletics competition of the 13th South Asian Games 2019, Nepal by throwing the javelin at 86.29m.
In April, this year he once again exhibited a standout performance at the Mashhad Imam Reza Athletics Tournament in Iran, where he improved his national record, throwing the javelin at a distance of 86.38m.