From the slums of Azadpur in Delhi to the Racers Track Club in Jamaica is a long way off, even without the accompanying struggles for someone from an underprivileged background. With them, it is more than a lifetime to bridge the distance.
For Nisar Ahmad, Jamaica remained an alien land for a large part of his early life. Today, the 16-year old gets to train with Yohan Blake, manages to pick the brains of legendary coach Glen Mills and even a pat on the back from the biggest of them all, Usain Bolt.
“It was surreal in the beginning but once you know them, they are so down to earth and helpful. Bolt came visiting once during our month-long camp and even though he spoke very little and spent most of the time discussing with coach Mills, he was very encouraging and motivating,” Nisar told Sportstar on the sidelines of the 22 Federation Cup here on Monday.
It wasn’t the best of the mornings for the Delhi youngster, having managed just 11.04 seconds in his 100m heat – fast enough to qualify for the semifinals but slow by the own standards of the Under-16 national record holder (his personal best is 10.76s at the Khelo India Games).
“I had to change three flights and spend 38 hours flying, reaching here only day before yesterday. It wasn't possible to give my best. In fact, the qualifying timings for CWG set by Athletics Federations of India (10.16s) is not impossible but at the moment I don't think I will be able to do it,” he admitted.
That wouldn't end his CWG hopes, though, with the AFI indicating that the qualifying guidelines could be adjusted if the difference was within acceptable limits. Nisar, though, was satisfied with his performance but more eager to return to the Racers Track Club in Jamaica. “In just one month, my technique and training methods have all improved so much. In fact, Blake told me I had very good technique, and that I should only concentrate on working hard and working on my fitness now and not bother with anything else, he said I was ready for the big league!” Nisar exclaimed.
The previous trip was sponsored by GAIL and Anglian Medal Hunt, who picked him up as a medal prospect during a talent hunt in 2016 and have promised to support him till 2020. His next trip to the Caribbean would be after a couple of months, this time sponsored by the Ajmal Foundation of Badrudding Ajmal, founder of AIUDF.
Given the way he has been improving, it shouldn’t be long before Blake's words come true.
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