In the world of athletics, rivalries often serve as the driving force that propels athletes to break barriers and achieve new heights. One such rivalry that has captured the attention of sports enthusiasts worldwide is between two exceptional javelin throwers – Neeraj Chopra from India and Arshad Nadeem from Pakistan. Their competition is not just a clash of individual talents but also a symbol of the historic India-Pakistan rivalry, albeit on a friendly note.

Big blow for Pakistan as Arshad Nadeem is out of Asian Games due to a knee injury.#AsianGames
— Muneeb Farrukh (@Muneeb313_) October 3, 2023

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Arshad Nadeem’s Sudden Withdrawal

Pakistan’s ace javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem has withdrawn from the ongoing Asian Games, leaving fans disappointed and the much-anticipated showdown with Neeraj Chopra in the javelin event unfulfilled. Nadeem, known for being the only South Asian to breach the 90m barrier, achieved this feat at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games (90.18m) – an event Neeraj Chopra had missed. The unexpected withdrawal came after Nadeem complained of persistent pain in his right knee during his first training session in Hangzhou. Dr. Asad Abbas, accompanying him, noted the concern and recommended an evaluation.

Chronic Injury Revealed

Arshad Nadeem underwent a thorough medical examination, including an MRI at a local hospital in Hangzhou, which revealed a chronic injury he had been carrying. Concerned about his long-term prospects, Nadeem made the difficult decision to withdraw from the Asian Games, with an eye on his participation in the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Rivalry Rooted in Respect

The rivalry between Neeraj Chopra and Arshad Nadeem intensified when they finished one-two in the javelin throw at the World Championships in August 2023. Despite Neeraj’s overall dominance, Arshad had been inching closer to the Indian ace’s performances since 2018.

This rivalry, however, is marked by mutual respect and admiration rather than animosity. Both athletes have expressed their happiness over the fact that they are challenging the European dominance in the sport.

Neeraj Chopra’s Focus Remains Unaltered

While the fans will be disappointed not to witness the much-anticipated duel, Neeraj Chopra remains focused on his performance. He stated earlier that his primary goal is to compete with himself and improve his technique and throws in the title event.

“In athletics, you compete with yourself and push yourself to do your best. I am aware that there is a lot of focus on my rivalry with Arshad at the Asian Games as there are no European athletes in fray. However, my fight is against myself. I have to better my technique and throw. Rest, we will see,” Neeraj Chopra emphasized.

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