Anas handles pressure well

Muhammed Anas grabbed the national record from Tamil Nadu’s Asian Games bronze medallist Arokia Rajiv, clocking 45.44s at the Polish National championship in Bydgoszcz on Friday evening.

Muhammed Anas... thecountry's fastest quartermiler.   -  Special Arrangement

Muhammed Anas took to athletics as a long jumper. But three years ago, with a personal best of 7.36m to show for years of hard toil, he realised that he was not hitting it big in the event. That was when a coach told him to try the 400m.

The switch has worked wonders, for the 21-year-old from Nilamel in Kollam is now the country’s fastest quartermiler.

Anas grabbed the national record from Tamil Nadu’s Asian Games bronze medallist Arokia Rajiv, clocking 45.44s at the Polish National championship in Bydgoszcz on Friday evening.

He was just a whisker away from the Rio Olympics entry standard of 45.40s.

“I didn’t expect that sort of time, I thought I would do something below 46s, like 45.7. That time was a bit of a shock but I’m sad that I missed the Rio standard,” Anas told Sportstar from Poland on Friday night. “But I can get that, I just need two or three tough competitions.”

P. B. Jaikumar, who has been training Anas and Federation Cup women’s 400m champion Anilda Thomas in Thiruvananthapuram, feels Anas is capable of running a lot faster.

“Anas sets high goals for himself, in fact, his goal for this year is 45 secs. That is very unrealistic, and he knows that he is not capable of doing that right now, but he sets that sort of high standards for himself,” said Jaikumar on Saturday evening.

“My goal for him this year was 45.55 but now after this show, I think he is capable of running something like 45.30 to 45.35 this season. For that, he has to reduce his ground contact time while running.”

Anas, whose brother Mohammed Anees is an upcoming long jumper, clocked 49.5s in his first 400m around three years ago, revealed Jaikumar.

“The next year he did 48.01 and he was fourth in the Open National and a little later he did 47.14 in the Indian Navy meet. Two months after that, he produced 46.6s.,” said the Kerala State Sports Council coach.

Despite his lack of international experience — he has just been to the World Military Games in Korea and the South Asian Games earlier in Guwahati — Anas has a cool head and that helps him handle pressure well.

“He does not allow pressure to affect him. That’s a huge advantage,” said Jaikumar.