By Aahan Kapoor
With the influence of sports all over the world, many new athletes from the unprivileged and third world countries have dominated the industry. This has not only increased results in sports but also been a great fascination to people watching these sports all over the world. Nisar Ahmed, a 15-year-old sprinter was one of them to shock the whole of India and be given an opportunity that no one Indian athlete has been given before. It is a story influential for many and will hopefully provide many more opportunities for aspiring athletes around the world.
Despite having financial issues, Nisar Ahmed developed a passion and skill for Track and Field (sprints). Starting his training in 2013, Ahmed broke 2 national level records (100 meters and 200 meters dash) in the Under-16 age category, National Athletics Championships (N.A.C). Impressed by his skill and the drive for passion, Ahmed has been chosen to travel abroad to train for a four-week training program at Racers Track Club, Kingston, Jamaica, along with the world champion – Usain Bolt.
Nisar Ahmed lives in Bada Bagh, near a railway track in the slums of Delhi, in a tin shack with plastic sheets and a few sparse bricks for a makeshift place that he calls home. Ahmed’s father is a rickshaw puller and his mother is a housemaid with both their combined monthly income being 5000 Rupees (78 U.S Dollars) and struggle to even have a decent supply of food. Life has not been easy for the teenager and has struggled with many needs, but, despite these circumstances, the teenager dreamt big and achieved something that no one expected.
“We really want to see him run, but for that, we need to sacrifice a day’s income and that’s not something we can afford. We know all about his races. We still harbor the dream of seeing our son make it big in athletics. It’s been over one-and-a-half years since I borrowed Rs 28,000 for my son’s athletic career. It was to buy spikes, sports gear and for his diet. I haven’t been able to repay it.”, Ahmed’s father told the press, who has supported the teenager throughout his sprinting career with whatever resources he could provide.
Though as shown in every athlete’s story, behind every successful man is a coach. For Nisar Ahmed’s case, it was Surender Singh, his current coach who discovered his talent in school level and brought him where he is today. Through training hard and learning the techniques of sprinting, Ahmed was very successful in inter-school competitions and went to inter-state competitions, from where he was selected in the Junior National team. Proud of his performance and hard work, Singh recommended Ahmed to the National team for consideration. He later on trained with the athletes in the Delhi national team, supervised under the head coach – Sunita Rai.
“Nisar has amazing talent. I have seen him grooming day by day and the way he started his career is truly an example. I hope, he will do well. He used to run in bare feet, but with his talent, I realized he needed proper training.”, Surender Singh said. Singh has shown Ahmed the pathway to dedication and achievement in track and field. Ahmed is what he is today because of his coach, Surender Singh.
Nisar Ahmed made it to the national level, but there were still many social problems that he faced. As said by his current coach in the team – Sunita Rai, he often experienced depression or could not perform as expected due to problems at home. Though track and field was a way for Ahmed to be distracted from family problems, a tough life had been presented to him and often lead to a lot of fatigue and effect on training. Working with other athletes at the national team who had more privileged lives also caused him a social effect while interacting with them.
“Some friends, whom I train with, occasionally invite me to their big houses. I never bring friends home because there is no place even to seat them. I cry sometimes because God has given me a very tough life. But it is my poverty that has inspired me to work hard in the face of such challenges,”. Being in such poverty and constantly fighting for survival in his habitat is a way that he has developed perseverance, hard work, and has worked his way to the top of his age category, something that is really rare throughout the entire country.
Impressed by his talent and perseverance in sprinting, Nisar Ahmed was invited to train in the world famous – Racers Track Club, Kingston, Jamaica along with Usain Bolt (world record holder in 100 meters, 200 meters, and 1 x 400 meters relay). This will be for a period of 4 weeks along with a few other athletes chosen from the under 16 Indian track and field team. Training in this club will be conducted by Glen Mills, coach of the Jamaican track and field team from 1987-2009 and now head coach of the club, training Usain Bolt and other top athletes. Being given this opportunity is a dream for many people around the world, but Nisar Ahmed proved India wrong, by showing that there is no limit on what one achieve because of their background and opportunities provided to them.
“I am very excited to travel to Jamaica for training. I will learn there and one day will win a medal for the county. I want to meet Sports Minister so that I can ask him for support. I am sure if I will get the support I will do well. I am also training for Commonwealth Games Trials and hope I will qualify”, Ahmed added. Nisar Ahmed shall continue to pursue sprinting as a career and perform at the international level. The story of this athlete shall continue to inspire athletes all over the world to pursue their desired dreams and continue to increase the sports industry.
By Aahan Kapoor