Arshad assured of full govt support for Tokyo Olympics preparation

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Inter-provincial Coordination (IPC) Dr. Fehmida Mirza met on Wedn­esday javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem, Pakistan’s leading prospect in the Tokyo Olympics, in her office and assured him full support for his training.

A press release issued by the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) said during the meeting with Arshad and other officials of the Athletic Federations of Pakistan who accompanied the athlete, Dr Fehmida got briefing on preparation for the Olympics and assured the athlete of full cooperation and support of the government.

At the 2019 South Asian Games staged in Nepal, the Khanewal-born Arshad set a new South Asian Games record in javelin throw with a distance of 86.29 metres and as a result earned direct qualification for the Tokyo Olympics. In November 2019, the talented athlete set a national record of 83.65 metres while representing Wapda at the 33rd National Games in Peshawar. Earlier in September-October Arshad, the only Pakistani athlete who competed in the World Athletics Championships staged in Doha, had achieved a new personal best and national record of 81.52 metres.

According to the press release, the minster directed the PSB to immediately ensure full cooperation in organising a camp for Arshad in Lahore, where the 23-year-old athlete will train under his coach till his departure abroad for further training.

Only five athletes from Pakistan will participate in mega event, including Arshad, equestrian Usman Khan and shooters Khalil Akhtar, Ghulam Mustafa Bashir and Gulfam Joseph.

Speaking to Dawn, PSB deputy director general Azam Dar said besides said athletes, there are also chances for few others, adding that a shooter Usman Chand has also possibility to qualify for the Olympic Games on World Ranking Quota for which he would participate ISSF Cups Shotgun event in Egypt and ISSF World Cup in India.

Judoka Shah Hussain Shah, Azam said, had also been in the qualifying race for Tokyo, adding that Shah finished fifth in the Grand Slam held in the UAE last year and is 42nd in Olympic ranking.

“It is possible that one or two more athletes like Saadi Abbas [karate] may qualify directly,” he said, adding that the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) has requested for invitation places (wild cards) to Olym­pic Games Tripartite Commission in karate, weightlifting, judo, taekwondo, boxing and gymnastics.

“Usman is in Australia and with his new horse, he won a couple of events,” Azam remarked.

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