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World Athletics 2023, IND vs PAK in javelin throw: Neeraj, Nadeem eye glory

India versus Pakistan in Javelin Throw is the new sporting rivalry between the two sides. Here's a brief history of the Neeraj Chopra vs Arshad Nadeem duel

Neeraj Chopra vs Arshad Nadeem, Javelin throw, World Athletics Championship 2023, India vs Pakistan

Friends off the field Neeraj Chopra and Arshad Nadeem to renew India vs Pakistan rivalry in Javelin throw at World Athletics Championship 2023.

Abhishek Singh New Delhi

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India and Pakistan are arch-rivals in cricket, hockey and Kabaddi. The case was true for Squash for a short period of time. But Indian squash grew too far and ahead of Pakistan. Hockey has seen a similar trajectory and so has Kabaddi (non-Punjabi style) due to the rise of Iran as India’s main challenge and their player’s exposure to the Pro Kabaddi League.

However, Javelin Throw has tantalisingly brought back the Indo-Pak sports rivalry to the mainstream at the World Athletics Championships 2023, thanks to an inspired showing from Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem.

Neeraj Chopra the reigning Olympic champion in Javelin Throw needed only one throw to get automatic qualification to the final of the World event at Budapest Hungry. But following him was the Pakistani, who was making a comeback after an elbow injury.

Nadeem, a Commonwealth Games gold medalist in Chopra’s absence, threw a distance of 86.79 at the National Athletic Arena in Budapest to make it to the Sunday finale where three Indians will compete in the 12-man start list.

Neeraj threw a distance of 88.77 metres to finish at the top and automatically qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics alongside Nadee after breaching the qualification mark of 85 metres mark.

Neeraj vs Nadeem: How the two athletes fared against each other over the years?

Prior to the World Championships battle that will take place on August 27, 2023, here’s a list of events where the two fierce competitors have taken part together.

Guwahati South Asian Games: Neeraj Chopra won gold and Arshad Nadeem bronze

2016 Asian Junior Athletics Championships: Neeraj Chopra won silver and Arshad Nadeem bronze

IAAF World U20 Championships: Neeraj Chopra won the gold and Arshad Nadeem finished 15th

2017 Asian Championships, Bhubaneshwar: Arshad Nadeem finished seventh, Neeraj Chopra won the gold

2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games: Neeraj Chopra won the gold while Nadeem had to finish eighth after a poor final performance, having excelled at the qualifying.

2018 Jakarta Asian Games: Nadeem fought back from the Commonwealth Games' failure and secured a bronze medal at the Asian Games, where Neeraj won the gold.

Tokyo Olympics: Nadeem was once again brilliant at the qualifying and finished at the top of his grouping. However, in the final event, he could only throw a distance of 84.62 to finish fifth whereas Neeraj won a gold with a throw of 87.58 meters.

World Athletics Championships, Oregon 2022: Arshad Nadeem finished fifth after a great throw of 86.16 meters. In the same event, Neeraj won India’s second-ever meal at the world event with a throw of 88.13 meters.

Personal best of Neeraj and Nadeem

In the latest ranking by the World Athletics, India’s Neeraj Chopra is at the top position, while Nadeem ranks fifth.

When it comes to personal best, Neeraj’s 89.94 metres, achieved at the BAUHAUS-Galan, Olympiastadion, Stockholm - Diamond League in 2022 is lower than Nadeem’s Commonwealth Games gold-winning record of 90.18 metres achieved at the Alexander Stadium, Birmingham in 2022.  

Neeraj and Nadeem: Friends off the field

Fierce competitors on the field, Neeraj and Arshad are good friends, feeding off each other’s energy. Be it at the World Championships 2022, or Arshad Nadeem’s best wishes to Neeraj for a speedy recovery, they have been in constant touch with each other. Even ahead of the World Championships in Hungry, Nadeem wished all the best to Neeraj.

What did Nadeem say ahead of the Javelin throw final?

"I don't compete against anyone. I try to always compete with myself and to do better and better. There is no rivalry with Neeraj," Nadeem told the media after qualifying for the final. "You can always learn from top athletes,” added the Pakistani.

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First Published: Aug 27 2023 | 7:30 AM IST

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