Arshad Nadeem landed in England where he will be participating in the Commonwealth Games, Brimingham, beginning from July 28, however he is without his personal coach.
“I have landed in the England,” Arshad told The Express Tribune on Monday. He will be going up against Grenada’s Anderson Peters, who has won gold at the recently concluded World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, while Indian Neeraj Chopra, silver medallist at the event will be missing in action due to injury.
Arshad finish fifth with an impressive 86.16 throw in his fourth attempt in Oregon on his comeback performance. He became the first Pakistani to ever qualify for the finals of the World Championships.
The Championships were his first event after the Tokyo Olympics where he also finished fifth. Arshad has been carrying an elbow injury that he picked in 2021 during the Tokyo Olympics preparations.
Arshad trained for the World Championships with South African coach Terseus Liebenberg in Johannesburg for two months, earlier this year.
Arshad also competed without any coach in Oregon, with the Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) secretary Muhammad Zafar accompanying him, while the AFP President was also scheduled to go to the US.
Arshad’s management in shambles
AFP has been suspended by the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) on account of three positive dope tests that had forced Pakistan return two gold medals and three bronze medals back to the South Asian Games organisers.
The POA do not deal with the AFP directly anymore.
Since the communication gap has only widen, AFP sent out a press release on July 24 that POA is denying Arshad the right to take his own coach at the Commonwealth Games.
POA confirmed to The Express Tribune on Monday night that they had made two efforts to make sure Arshad gets the coach for the Commonwealth Games and completely refuted AFP’s claim that they have denied an athlete a right to have a personal coach.
“It is absolutely untrue,” POA Secretary Khalid Mehmood told The Express Tribune exclusively after finding out about AFP’s press release. “We wanted to make sure that Arshad gets everything he needs.
“We do not deal with the AFP because they have been suspended for three positive dope tests and with due process, in accordance with international doping rules we suspended them. But first we asked Arshad’s departmental side, Wapda, which coach they want to send. They had named Fiaz Bokhari, even Arshad was happy with it, so we got his accreditation done, but then we found out that Bokhari is not needed. They wanted the South African.
“We wrote to the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) again, asking for the South African coach’s particulars. We told them that we’ll get the accreditation. They sent passport and other documents that were required, but we haven’t received those documents till now. So, we have tried to make sure that we give them what Arshad wants.
“I had even spoken to the South African coach, but there can be a possibility that he was not available later. However, even now, I want to say that we can give Arshad anyone he wants within the parameters of the contingent and constraints now.
“We cannot call anyone from Pakistan or anywhere else because the date of accreditation has long passed.”
Mahmood added that another coach Salman Butt could have been accredited next. “We POA asked for it, but we did not get the response.”
He emphasised that the AFP officials went with Arshad to the World Championships instead of getting any coaches, so there should be accountability for that as well, “because the World Championship can be a bigger event than the Olympics.”
Meanwhile the press lease by AFP stated: “Arshad Nadeem is now headed to the UK where he will take part in the XXII Commonwealth Games, Birmingham. It is unfortunate that the athlete is being denied the right to have his personal coach in the CWG as the Pakistan Olympic Association is wanting to send a non-athletic person as an official with the Pakistani athletics team at Birmingham. AFP is extremely apprehensive of this unfair and unprofessional approach by POA as this action can be detrimental to the performance of Arshad.
“The Federal minister for IPC Ehsanur Rehman Mazari is requested to kindly use his influence and redress this prevailing situation that can adversely affect the chances of Pakistan winning a medal in 2022Commonwealth Games.”
The AFP also thanked Zahid Hussain for sponsoring Arshad.
All must be done for Arshad
Mahmood assured that the POA is proud of Arshad’s achievements and they want Arshad to succeed in every way.
He said that the AFP did not take physician Dr Asad Abbas, who had treated Arshad last year and made sure he was in the position to play.
Mahmood agreed that Arshad has garnered international claim and attention and the POA wants to make sure that managerial duties for him along with training and competitions will be done with efficiency to assure smooth participation in the event.
“He can ask for anything with in the slot we have for the Commonwealth Games,” explained Mahmood.
He confirmed that the contingent of 104 athletes finally came together in Birmingham on Monday. The POA sponsored athletes that were not sponsored by the PSB, but the two bodies are on the same page when it comes to the participation in the games.