- Web Desk
- 8 Hours ago
Two retired generals, one star athlete: Arshad Nadeem without facilities
- Web Desk
- Aug 29, 2023
Star javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem, has become the first-ever Pakistani to win a silver medal at World Athletics Championship. Arshad’s relentless dedication might kindle hope, yet his journey is marred by the absence of mainstream sponsorships and access to top-tier training facilities.
This is not the first time that he made headlines – for better or for worse. Fingers point towards the Pakistan Olympics Association (POA) and the Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) for contributing to his true growth. The feud between these two organisations is neither new nor unknown, but now it is taking a toll on Arshad’s career.
The saga began to unfold last year when Arshad won a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. He accomplished it without a coach by his side. Afterwards, he seized another gold medal at the Islamic Solidarity Games in Konya, Turkey, albeit accompanied by his coach Syed Fiaz Bukhari this time.
Fast-forward to the current year. He competed in World Athletics Championships 2022 held in Oregon in June 2023, again without a coach. However, he was accompanied by the Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) secretary Muhammad Zafar this time, which, according to AFP President Maj. Gen.(Retd) Muhammad Akram Sahi, is “an attendance requirement”.
Eventually, POA and AFP got into an unending blame game, each accusing the other of mismanagement and failing to provide the necessary coaching support. Amid the turmoil, Arshad got appointed a new coach, Salman Butt, for the World Championship but that means almost nothing in the absence of well-deserved sponsorships and financial backing.
History on repeat
This is a story that is stuck in a loop. As Arshad continues to bring honour to Pakistan, the familiar backdrop of inadequate facilities and financial support persistently resurface.
Just recently, Quetta Gladiators’ Director of Marketing & Media, Nabeel Hashmi, shed light on the matter, asserting that if AFP had been more reasonable, Arshad’s recognition could have been significantly enhanced. Hashmi revealed that multiple brands, including Quetta Gladiators, expressed interest in making Arshad their brand ambassador, but circumstances prevented this.
Flaminko Sports Management’s Syed Ameem Haq held a similar opinion. He revealed that six contracts valued at Rs17 million were lined up for Arshad Nadeem, originating from diverse industries. Unfortunately, due to the “lack of interest from POA,” these opportunities remained unrealized.
Haq even unveiled an intriguing twist involving a potential music video appearance that was stymied by external demands.
It is pertinent to mention here that POA does not have the mandate to decline or approve any such offer or contract.
Hum News reached out to POA and AFP for a comment.
CLASH OF ADMINISTRATIVE TITANS
POA General Secretary Muhammad Khalid Mehmood said that since Arshad is an employee at WAPDA, POA does not deal with him directly.
He held AFP as the responsible party for dealing with offers of sponsorships or brand deals, adding that even though they are not directly responsible for Arshad, POA is in the process of disbursing $625 per month to the athlete till Paris Olympics 2024.
An amount of $7,500 has already been given to him and the next tranche will also be issued shortly and the process will continue till Paris 2024, he informed.
AFP President Maj. Gen.(Retd) Muhammad Akram Sahi outrightly refuted any claims made by Hashmi and Haq, and said, “We have been begging to everyone to give us sponsorships and finance our sportsmen. These people have never reached out to us, I have never heard their names before today.”
“We have been begging to everyone to give us sponsorships and finance our sportsmenMaj. Gen.(Retd) Muhammad Akram Sahi
He held POA responsible for this as well, saying that if they were aware of any such offers of sponsorships, they should have reached out to us, or at least to WAPDA. “We need such sponsorships. We don’t have funds. I spent nearly a crore of my own accord, and with the help of patrons who care about Pakistan’s sports for Arshad’s elbow injury treatment. Even the government did not support us.”
The ongoing clash between POA and AFP aggravates Arshad’s predicament. A history marked by accusations and disputes saw the AFP suspended by POA following a doping scandal.
Simultaneously, the AFP claimed that the POA obstructed Arshad’s choice of coach for the Commonwealth Games and is doing so again for the upcoming Asian games. Meanwhile, Arshad Nadeem remains without substantial sponsorships or access to world-class training facilities.