Islamabad: Javelin star Arshad Nadeem made Pakistan proud when he claimed gold medal in the ongoing 13th South Asian Games (SAG) with a throw of 86.48 metre in Kathmandu, Nepal — becoming first athlete from the country in decades to directly qualify for the next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Arshad was followed by India’s Shivpal Singh, who earned silver with an 84.16m throw. Sri Lanka’s Sumedha Jagath with a 74.97m throw finished third to take bronze.

In a video message, Nadeem expressed delight at the achievement. “I’m really happy because I’ve done a very good throw. It is a new national as well as SAG record,” he said.

The 2018 Asian Games bronze medallist said he was thankful to General Akram Sahi, the president of Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) for extending all type of support to him to accomplish the target. “My trainer Imtiaz Hussain Bukhari has been imparting rigorous training to me,” he said. “(Prior to SAG), they has sent me for a six-month training in Malaysia and now I’m being sent to China for another training programme to prepare for Tokyo Olympics.”