India’s Golden boy Neeraj Chopra has revealed that he would have been happy to see Pakistan’s Javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem win a medal in Tokyo Olympics. Chopra revealed this in a media interview.
“I felt that it was wrong to indulge in India-Pakistan rhetoric here in the Olympics because all countries are here. It (the rivalry) is there in cricket because only 8-10 countries play the game. It’s fine. His (Arshad Nadeem’s) performance was very good too. But he couldn’t win a medal. It would have been good if he too had won from an Asian country. But I am happy that I won a Gold medal,” Chopra told Shreya Dhoundial of CNN-News18.
Athletics Federation of India had earned plenty of plaudits for congratulating Arshad Nadeem on his Olympic qualification in 2019. It had tweeted from its official Twitter handle, “Congrats #ArshadNadeem, javelin star of #Pakistan for winning gold at #SAGames2019 with a throw of 86.48m (PB & New Pakistani record). Qualified for #Tokyo2020 Olympics, first Pakistani athlete in decades to earn direct qualification.”
The photo of Chopra and Nadeem in conversation on a medal podium in the Asian Games in Jakarta had gone viral after both athletes qualified for the finals in the Javelin throw competition in Tokyo. Chopra had won the Gold medal in the Asian Games, while Nadeem had to contend with Bronze.
Qualified for #Tokyo2020 Olympics, first Pakistani athlete in decades to earn direct qualification.
— Athletics Federation of India (@afiindia) December 7, 2019
During this year’s Olympics, many commentators claimed that Nadeem considered the Indian Gold medallist his idol.
By Chopra’s own admission, moments after he created history in Tokyo by becoming the first Indian to win a Gold medal in athletics, Nadeem had congratulated him on his Olympic glory. “He congratulated me when we sat together in the bus. He was telling me about that photo from the Asian Games (which went viral) and he said that people in Pakistan equate us to Abdul Khaliq and Milkha Singh,” Chopra was quoted by Firstpost as saying.
India and Pakistan have not played a single bilateral cricket series in recent years due to the existing hostility between the two governments over the issue of Kashmir and India’s claims that Pakistan has been behind cross-border terrorism.