A sense of belonging is what Kisan Tadvi feels when he dashes across the turf, toiling towards excellence in the 3,000 m flat race. The love affair between the 17-year-old and running — which was forged on his parents’ farm — culminated into a pinnacle at the inaugural Asian Youth Athletics Championship in Doha on Sunday.
The Nasik-based youngster was in his element only in his second foreign sojourn, racing towards his first international gold 11 seconds ahead of the closest challenger, clocking 8:26.24. Yet, just as suddenly as the youngster burst onto the international stage with a silver at Asian Youth Championships in Thailand last year, Tadvi’s exploits in the 3,000 m race will soon be a thing of the past. While the event is considered in the youth level Olympics, the senior division does not recognise it for its quadrennial event.
Subsequently, the obvious choice would be for him to shift to 1,500 m or the 5,000 m run, but not the 3,000 m steeplechase, due to his lowly 5”5’ frame. Strategic changes required would be adjusting his speed to endurance ratio for each category. Tadvi’s coach at the Bhonsala Military School, Vijendra Singh though isn’t concerned with how his ward will adapt to the alterations. “Kisan has an uncommon knack of maintaining a balance between his speed and endurance for whatever event. He is an intelligent runner and adjusts to changes quickly,” explains Singh.
His versatility was on display at the school nationals earlier in January. Tadvi, an athlete with the Anglian Medal Hunt Company, worked his way toward breaking both the 5,000 metre and 1,500 metre marks – setting up a 14:44 minute and 3:55 minute timing respectively. Singh asserts that Tadvi’s performance at the Ranchi event made it clear the prodigy would not be fazed once he had to let go of his usual race. “He’s been gathering a 15 odd kilometre mileage everyday during practice. So he is getting used to it,” Singh mentions.
Meanwhile, Tadvi has made peace for being forced to switch events to the point that he already has a new favourite. “I like the 5 km run. It’s just two km more than what I normally do, but it’s easier to strategise,” he says. Before he does make the switch however, the Akkalkuva village native, has two more international events — as a 3,000 metre runner. Columbia will host the World Youth Championships in July, followed by the Samoa-based Commonwealth Youth Games.
The increase in international trips has, in turn, had a drastic effect on his personal preparations towards each journey. Given the low connectivity in his village, communication has always been a problem. In fact, his parents didn’t get to know about Tadvi’s first trip abroad until after he returned. “Now I inform them as soon as I get to know. They love the idea of me getting to travel by plane,” he says. “I do too,” he adds.