Pakistan's highly-rated javelin throw athlete Arshad Nadeem has said he finds inspiration in Neeraj Chopra's achievements and that his goal is to emulate his Indian counterpart.
The two athletes from neighbouring countries were sharing the Asian Games 2018 podium in Jakarta on Monday, August 27.
Chopra was standing on the top step after breaking the national record with a throw of 88.06m, his personal best as well. Nadeem sneaked onto the podium with his personal best throw of 80.75m in the final, which was dominated by the 20-year-old Indian.
Like quite a few who were impressed with the former world junior champion's performance at the Games, Nadeem heaped praise on Chopra and also revealed he seeks Chopra's tips over WhatsApp messages.
"Neeraj is an amazing talent. I have competed with him about eight times now including the SAFF Championships in India and Asian Junior Championships. But he has a foreign coach and I don't. His achievements inspire me and my goal is to emulate him one day, may be, beat him too," Nadeem told the Press Trust of India.
"Neeraj bhai jawaab hee nahi dete (he hardly responds to my WhatsApp messages). He has done that only a couple of times and after that he stopped. I don't know the reason for that.
"Maybe he is busy. I just meet him during tournaments. He has got a great technique and I am sure he has got full support from the government."
Born in a cricket-crazy country, Nadeem didn't go off the beaten track straightaway. The well-built athlete had played age-group cricket at the state-level as a fast bowler in Pakistan.
Nadeem dumped cricket to focus on javelin throw
Having taken to javelin only three years ago, the 21-year-old has made good strides in the sport, which is dominated by Europeans. In 2016, he was invited by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) at their High-Performance Training Centre in Mauritius for eight months.
Ever since his performances have been impressive at the senior level, Nadeem, employed with the country's electricity board, participated at the Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneswar last year and finished seventh.
He had braved an injury to make the final of Commonwealth Games earlier this year and finished eighth, seven places behind Chopra.
"I used both my arms but I was a right-hand fast bowler, unlike Tanvir bhai. Like India, cricket is big in Pakistan but then I was introduced to javelin three years ago and ever since I have stopped following cricket," Nadeem added.
"Jis raah jaana nahi uska rasta kya dekhna [why to even look at the path which you are not going to take]."
Nadeem also revealed he enjoyed his trip to India last year and that he expects to participate in more tournaments across the border.
"It was a memorable trip. We came to Amritsar from Lahore by road. Aap log badi khatir or izzat karte ho [you people are great hosts]. I would love to compete in India again."