Srinagar: A surprise call from Tokyo Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra left Pakistan Javelin thrower Muhammad Yasir stunned.
Neeraj Chopra is turning into a role model for Asian athletes and is known for personally reaching out to other athletes to motivate them.
Pakistani javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem, the Commonwealth Games champion, and Indian triple jumper Praveen Chithravel have already been inspired by Chopra’s words of encouragement.
Recently, Neeraj Chopra called up Pakistani javelin thrower Muhammad Yasir after the 25-year-old won a bronze medal at the Asian Athletic Championships 2023 in Bangkok.
“It was a pleasant surprise when he (Neeraj Chopra) called me up and appreciated my performance. He wished me best of luck for future events,” Muhammad Yasir revealed to Geo TV in an interview.
Muhammad Yasir logged 79.93m at the Asian championships and was well-placed for a silver medal. However, India’s DP Manu hurled the spear 81.01m with his final attempt to leapfrog the Pakistani to the second spot.
Though missing out on a medal so late was disappointing, Yasir welcomed the competition and said the rivalry between Indian and Pakistani throwers will only serve to make them better in the long run.
“To stand on the podium with a neighbour for the first time was wonderful,” Muhammad Yasir told NNIS last month.
“The competition between us made us better, there’s some natural competition as we are from neighbouring countries. It was more fun that both of us stood on the podium,” Yasir added.
Muhammad Yasir, who also flaunts long hair like Neeraj Chopra once did, said that though he takes inspiration from Neeraj Chopra’s Tokyo Olympics gold medal-winning performance, he regards compatriot Arshad Nadeem as his hero.
Arshad Nadeem, currently sidelined by injury, became the first javelin thrower from South Asia to breach the 90m mark after logging a meet record of 90.18m at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Neeraj Chopra, whose personal best is 89.94m, is yet to touch the magic 90m mark.
Indian and Pakistani javelin throwers will be in action at the Asian Games 2023, to be held in Hangzhou, the People’s Republic of China, from September 23 to October 8. Neeraj Chopra will take the field as the defending champion in men’s javelin throw.
Courtesy : Olympics.com