With every global/continental athletics event, the rivalry between Indian Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra and Pakistani Commonwealth Games champion Arshad Nadeem evolves into one of the most exciting duels in world athletics. Rivalries between athletes/teams from two neighboring countries and a common history have always been one of the most fascinating aspects of different sports. India and Pakistan are no different. Whether it's cricket, hockey or any other sport, this rivalry has always been in the spotlight and dominated.
In the world of athletics, there was a notable India vs Pakistan duel in the 1960s between Indian athletics legend Milkha Singh and Pakistani Abdul Khaliq. The rivalry between Neeraj and Arshad is also slowly picking up steam.
Neeraj has become a household name with his accomplishments on the field, having won all the gold the sport had to offer at the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, Diamond League and finally the World Athletics Championships . His efforts have made Indian athletics well known.
Although Arshad's medal/trophy cabinet is not as big as Neeraj's, he is still the first Pakistani athlete to secure a World Championships medal. Yesterday he got silver while Neeraj took historic gold. Less than a meter was the difference between Neeraj's best throw of 88.17m and Arshad's best throw of 87.82m. Nadeem also ended Pakistan's 60-year wait for CWG gold in Birmingham last year.
According to Olympics.com, both athletes competed in nine international competitions, seven times at senior level and two times at junior level.
The first meeting between these two athletes was at the 2016 South Asian Games in Guwahati, where Neeraj took home gold and Nadeem took home bronze. Neeraj currently has a 9-0 lead over Nadeem.
Despite Neeraj dominating the total, Arshad is coming closer to the performances of the Indian star since 2018 and could pose a major threat to his Olympic supremacy in Paris next year.
Arshad of Pakistan leads Neeraj in personal best throwing, hitting a 90.18 at the 2022 CWG, where he won gold. With this performance he beat the then world champion Anderson Peters from Grenada. Neeraj missed the event due to injury. It was only the second time a South Asian athlete had reached the 90m mark, following the 91.26m throw by Chao-Tsun Cheng of Chinese Taipei at World Underside 2017.
However, Neeraj has yet to reach that much-discussed 90m mark, with his personal best of 89.94m at the 2022 Stockholm Diamond League in Sweden also a national record.
A look at the Neeraj-Arshad rivalry in numbers:
EVENT Neeraj Chopra Arshad Nadeem
2016 South Asian Games, Guwahati 1st Place (82.23m) 3rd Place (78.33m)
2016 Asian Junior Championships, Ho Chi-Minh 2nd place (77.60m) 3rd place (73.40m)
2016 World U20 Championships in Athletics, Bydgoszcz* 1st place (86.48 m) 30th place (67.17 m)
2017 Asian Athletics Championships, Bhubaneshwar 1st place (85.23m) 7th place (78.00m)
2018 Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast 1st place (86.47m) 8th place (76.02m)
2018 Asian Games, Jakarta 1st Place (88.06m) 3rd Place (80.75m)
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games 1st place (87.58m) 5th place (84.62m)
2022 IAAF World Championships, Oregon 2nd place (88.13 m) 5th place (86.16 m)
2023 World Athletics Championships, Budapest 1st (88.17m) 2nd (87.82m).
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