Nisar Ahmed, 15, a rickshaw puller’s son, rewrote the Under-16 national record in the 100 metres with a timing of 10.85 seconds at the 33rd National Junior Athletics Championships. UP’s Rahul Sharma (11.05) and Maharashtra’s Karan Hegiste (11.11s) settled for the silver and bronze medal respectively at the Acharya Nagarjuna University athletics ground in Vijaywada on Saturday.
This is not the first time that the Delhi boy has run below 11 seconds. This season he has three sub-11 timings, with his best effort of 10.76s coming at the School Nationals in Bhopal just a fortnight ago. His timings in Vijaywada, however, will be officially ratified by Athletics Federation of India. Ahmed’s gold-medal winning sprint bettered the four-year old record (11.1s) held by AS Arun of Tamil Nadu.
Ahmed’s breakout performance came at the Delhi State Athletics meet in September where on the final day he clocked 11 seconds to bag the 100m gold. The victory also drew attention to the plight of the youngster, who lived with his family at the Bada Bagh slum in Azadpur area.
Ahmed, believes the Delhi event was the turning point in his life and has spurred him on to break the national record. “I really want to thank the people who came up to help me after that race. I have improved so much now that I can afford better diet and equipment. I want them to continue to support me and guide me in my journey to become an international athlete,” Ahmed said over the phone.
Ahmed says his phone hasn’t stopped ringing since he broke the Under-16 record. The first person to call, as always, was his mother who keenly follows her son’s progress.
“I have been talking to her everyday. She tells me that she is praying for me everyday. She was really delighted when I told her about my record,” he says.
Ahmed’s mother Shafikunisha, a domestic help, has never witnessed her son race. But the son forwarded a whatsapp video of the record-breaking feat to his mother.
Ahmed, who is one of the most promising junior-level athletes in the country at the moment, trains at the Chhatrasal stadium under coach Sunita Rai.
At Ahmed’s home, all his medals are kept in a plastic bag and the gold he won on Saturday will go into the same bag.
“This has to be the best victory of my life,” he says.
After a news report in The Indian Express highlighted Ahmed’s plight in September when he won gold at the state meet, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal met him. “They (government) asked me what I needed in writing. Hopefully, they will give my father the autorickshaw soon”
Amoj rewrites 400m record
Another Delhi boy Amoj Jacob broke the 11-year-old 400 metre record in the Under-20 category with a timing of 46.59s. Jacob bettered the 11-year-old record of 46.99s set by Virender Pank. Haryana’s Harsh Kumar (46.99s) and Gaurav (47.62s) took the other two podium spots respectively.
Although Amoj broke the national record, he fell short of his personal goal of running below 45 seconds.
“I wanted to check my timings, so this was an important championship for me. I want to run under 45 seconds next year. The experience from the World Championships has helped a lot. This has been a good year; I am satisfied with my progress and looking forward to the Commonwealth and Asian Games next year,” he said.