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Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem wins historic Javelin gold medal at CWG

BIRMINGHAM: Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem made the nation proud as he claimed gold medal in the javelin throw event of the Commonwealth Games with a monstrous throw of 90.18m in Birmingham on Sunday. Arshad Nadeem became the first javelin thrower from the sub-continent to cross the 90 meter mark at the Commonwealth Games 2022.

That brought Pakistan’s first athletics medal at the Games since 1966 and maybe a first javelin gold for the country since Mohammad Nawaz finished top of the podium at the inaugural edition of the quadrennial multi-sport spectacle in 1954.

It was Pakistan’s second gold in Birmingham and the first was also won with a Games record when Nooh Dasagir Butt triumphed in the +105kg weightlifting competition.

On an evening when he improved on his personal best thrice, Arshad’s first effort was 86.61 meters.

He was setting the distance to beat for the rest of the field and it was a question of whether it would be enough for gold.

A foul on his second attempt didn’t matter as Arshad imp­ro­ved his personal best again with a throw of exactly 88 meters.

Each effort, however, ended with Arshad grimacing in pain, the 25-year-old immediately reaching out to feel his right elbow, which he’s been nursing after last year’s Tokyo Olympics where he finished fifth. He finished at the same place at last month’s world championships. But in the lead halfway through the final, he could still afford a smile.

Arshad’s fourth throw landed just beyond the 85-metre mark but with two rounds remaining, he was still in the lead.

It was in the penultimate round, when Arshad finally trailed — Peters launching the javelin to 88.64 meters. Peters celebrated as if it was enough for gold but his joy was short-lived. This was Arshad’s gold to win and he immediately threw over the sport’s ‘holy grail’ mark of 90m. Doing so he became only the second Asian to cross that mark after Taiwan’s Chao-Tsun Cheng (91.36m). He also broke the Games record of 88.75m by South African Marius Corbett that stood since 1998.

Peters, who threw over 90 meters to win at the worlds in Oregon, tried with his final throw to overhaul Arshad but it wasn’t to be. He ended with silver with Kenya’s Yego picking up bronze with a best throw of 85.70m.

Achieving that distance in his fifth throw, he came on top in a field that included world champion Anderson Peters, former Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott and former Commonwealth and world champion Julius Yego.

This was incredible. Against all the odds, without his coach and with his throwing elbow heavily taped due to injury, Arshad won the javelin throw final at the Alexander Stadium with a monster 90.18-metre throw on Sunday evening.

Arshad became the first Pakistani in 2019 to qualify for the athletics event at the Olympics. He finished fifth in Tokyo.

With his gold medal, Pakistan bowed out of the Commonwealth Games with two gold, three silver and three bronze medals.

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