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Arshad lost due to his extensive social media use: Pakistan's chef-de-mission

Updated 09 Aug, 2021
Pakistani athlete Arshad Nadeem came fifth in Saturday's javelin throw in Tokyo. Reuters
Pakistani athlete Arshad Nadeem came fifth in Saturday's javelin throw in Tokyo. Reuters

As Pakistanis mourn the lost opportunity for Olympic athlete Arshad Nadeem who placed fifth in the javelin throw on Saturday in Tokyo, Pakistan contingent’s chef-de-mission Brigadier Zaheer Akhtar said the athlete missed out on a medal because he was on social media a lot.

In an interview to the News on Sunday from Tokyo, Brigadier Akhtar said: “Nonstop social media usage by Arshad and his coach in between the qualifying and final rounds turned out to be the main reason behind this failure."

He said despite clear instructions, both Arshad and his coach Fayyaz Bukhari were on social media and "even have sent premature videos back home halfway into the competition that surely was an act of total indiscipline.”

He praised Arshad for the talent and skills and said prior to the finals, Arshad's performance posed a threat to the Indian athlete Neeraj Chopra who ultimately won Saturday's throw.

"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,” said Brigadier Zaheer.

He believes the competition should have been between Arshad and Chopra.

"Sadly that could not happen more due to Arshad and his coach’s excessive use of social media in between the qualifying round and finals," he said.

The Pakistan Olympic Association in May appointed Brigadier Zaheer Akhtar, who is vice president of the association, as Pakistan contingent's chef de mission. He was nominated by the President of the POA, Lt Gen (R) Arif Hasan.

Prior to the team's departure to Tokyo, Hasan said in an interview to Dawn that he was sure they would perform well.

“Despite the Covid-19, these athletes have proven their capabilities at the Olympic qualifiers and surely, they will showcase the same sort of excellent performances at the Tokyo Olympics,” he said.

Pakistan's team for the Olympics comprised 10 athletes from six disciplines.