'I see Arshad Nadeem as senior, not as a challenge': Kishore Jena hails Pakistan athlete

New Delhi, April 3 (IANS) Olympic-bound javelin thrower Kishore Jena on Wednesday lavished praise on Arshad Nadeem, saying he doesn't see the Pakistani athlete as a "challenge" and treat him as "senior", considering his achievements at the mega stage.

With a 90.18m throw, Nadeem had created a new record at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham to clinch the gold medal, becoming only the second Asian after Chinese Taipei's Chao-Tsun Cheng to cross the mark.

Speaking to IANS, Jena -- who won silver at the Asian Games last year -- hailed Arshad, saying, "I don't see him as a challenge, he is an outstanding athlete and has touched the mark of 90 meters, he had won silver in the World Championships and gold in CWG, so he is a better player than me. I see him as a senior player and not as a challenge."

Jena, who recently returned to India from a 35-day training stint in Gold Coast in Australia, is now training at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) in Patiala, and said he has no further plans for foreign training before heading to Paris for the Olympics.

"We went to Australia for training because the weather in India at the time was cold. Right now, I am not thinking of foreign training, I have to stay in India for now because the Doha Diamond League is on May 10… hence there is no such plan."

Jena's Asian Games silver-winning throw of 87.54m, which is his personal best, helped him beat the Paris Olympic qualification mark of 85.50m.

As the Indian athlete is getting ready to mark his debut at the Olympics in Paris this year, he will start his outdoor season from the Diamond League in Doha on May 10.

Asked if he set any target for himself in terms of distance, Jena said. "No I haven't, I will just try to improve my personal best and do not want to take pressure by setting any specific target. I am just working on how to better my personal best."

The 28-year-old thrower added that he is competing in Diamond League meets just to fine-tune his preparation for the Olympics. "I am competing at one or two Diamond League meets to work on my mistakes, either technically or strategically, and correct them as quickly as possible before heading to Paris. I don't want to face any problems in terms of performance in the Olympics."

Jena, who had finished behind India's golden boy Neeraj Chopra in the Asian Games, once said, " I keep taking suggestions from Neeraj".

Asked if he had got any advice from the Olympic champion himself for the Doha meet, he replied, "Of course, I have to take advice from him because he has played Doha DL and has also been its winner, so if I have any doubt, I will definitely reach out to him."

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