ISLAMABAD      -        Pakistani javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem on Saturday claimed gold medal with a throw of 86.48 metres in the 13th South Asian Games (SAG), currently underway in Kathmandu, Nepal.

With this victory, the 23-year-old not only outperformed the past records of the SAG, but also became the first Pakistani to directly qualify for the next year’s Tokyo Olympics. Arshad was followed by India’s Shivpal Singh, who earned silver medal with a throw of 84.16 metres, while the bronze medal was grabbed by Sri Lanka’s Sumedha Jagath with a throw of 74.97 metres. “I am really happy, as I have made a very good throw. It is a new national as well as SAG record,” Arshad said in a video message.

Arshad, who had also won a bronze medal in the 2018 Asian Games, further said that he is thankful to Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) President General (R) Akram Sahi for supporting him to accomplish the target. “My trainer Imtiaz Hussain Bukhari has been imparting rigorous training to me. The AFP had sent me in Malaysia for six-month training prior to the SAG. Now I am being sent to China for another training programme to prepare for the Tokyo Olympics. I will perform better in the mega event and make the nation proud,” he added

In other events, Pakistan’s Inayat ullah won gold medal in the 70 kg wrestling category and Abdul Rehman won gold medal in the 79 kg wrestling event. Pakistan’s Usman Rathore won gold medal in the 102 kg men’s weightlifting category, while Rabbia Razzaq won silver medal in the women weightlifting event. The national shooting player GM Bashir also won silver medal in the men’s 25 metres rapid fire pistol category.

However, Pakistani women lost the semifinals of the squash competitions, as India’s Sunayana Kuruvilla defeated Faiza Zafar with the scores of 3-1, 9-11, 11-6, 11-0, 11-5 and India’s Tanvi Khanna thrashed Madina Zafar by 3-0, 12-10, 11-6, 11-7. In the men’s semifinals, Indian Harindar Pal beat Pakistan’s Farhan Mehboob by 3-2, 9-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-8, 11-9 (53 mins), while Pakistan’s Tayyab Aslam outperformed India’s Abhay Singh with the scores of 3-2, 6-11, 11-4, 12-14, 12-10, 11-7 (75 mins). Tayyab will now play for gold medal in the individual round. Pakistan squash players Tayyab, Farhan, Asim Khan, Amaad Fareed, Madina, Faiza, Amna Fayyaz and Moqaddas Asraf are participating in the men and women events. The team event for men and women will be played today (Sunday). Pakistan is now at fourth place in the medals table with 83 medals, including 21 golds, 28 silvers and 34 bronzes, while India, Nepal and Sri Lanka are at first, second and third place respectively.