Pakistan’s chef-de-mission to the Tokyo Olympics, Brig. Zaheer Akhtar, believes that extensive use of social media led to the downfall of Arshad Nadeem in the final of the Javelin Throw competition. Akhtar said that Arshad was in pole position to land a medal for Pakistan and even had the potential to win the gold medal had his focus been solely on the final.
Arshad finished fifth in the Javelin Throw competition with a throw of 84.62m. His Indian counterpart, Neeraj Chopra, secured a gold medal with a throw of 87.58m.
Akhtar said that Arshad and his coach constantly used social media before the final of the competition, and this was the reason behind his failure to finish within the top three. Akhtar believes that Arshad was regarded as one of the favorites of the competition due to his unquestionable talent and his magnificent performance in the qualifying round.
“When he sent javelin to over 85 meters in the qualifying round, Indian coach who trained the gold medalist, Chopra, was on record to have said that Arshad was the biggest threat to his athlete, having all the potential to win even gold. Such was the impact of his qualifying round performance where he hardly put his full effort and yet he reached over 85. The Indian camp was wary of Arshad and his potential,” Akhtar said.
Akhtar believes that indiscipline within the Pakistan camp cost Arshad a gold medal as his coach did not seem to care much about his final throw. He said that Arshad’s coach was talking on the phone during his final throw, which led to Arshad throwing in haste. Akhtar said that had there been more professionalism, Arshad would have been able to create history.