The Hush Post: Not a cricketer this time, but a sprinter, a boy who lives by the railway track near Azadpur Mandi will fly to Kingston, Jamaica. When the train would arrive, he would run parallel to out-compete it and that’s what got him where he is today — wanting to run, run and never stop. Nisar Ahmad is among the 14 budding athletes selected to train with Usain Bolt and his coach Glen Mills. The Kingston Club assessed the applicants’ capabilities and potential and agreed to a four-week training programme. Ahmad lives with his family near the Azadpur Mandi at Bada Bagh slums.
For a family which lives on an income of Rs 5,000, and which has difficulty to put food on the table let alone provide a rich diet, it is an extraordinary achievement.
Given this background, at the recent Delhi State Athletics meet, this Government Boys Secondary School, Ashok Vihar student broke two national under-16 records as he bagged two gold medals in the short sprints. He shaved off 0.02 seconds off the 100m record, running in 11 seconds. Ahmad also eclipsed the existing 200m mark of 22.11secs, clocking 22.08 sec.
As he talks about his life, the poverty surrounding him and his ambition really hits you in the face and he admits, it often leaves him sad. “Some friends whom I train with, invite me to their bungalows. I never bring friends home because there is no place to sit,” he says apologetically, seated in their cramped, 10 by 10 feet, poorly ventilated, if it can be called a house. The entrance lies over a drain carrying sewage water from the crowded shanties in the slum. “I feel sad sometimes because I haven’t seen the best of times,” he says, “But it is my poverty that really motivates me to work hard in the face of adversity.”
“I used to run bare-feet but subsequently got trained and now I think my stint in Jamaica will add to my running,” he says.