4 exciting young prospects in Indian athletics
Athletics is a sport that requires a lot of skill and strength to shine at the global stage. Unfortunately, India has not been able to compete well with success at the global stage in the field of athletics. India has produced some legendary athletes in form of Milka Singh, PT Usha and many more athletes in the past but an Olympic medal in athletics still remains a distant dream.
Many youngsters in India nowadays are taking up athletics and working hard to achieve something that has not been achieved by any other Indian before ( Olympic medal). India in the recently concluded Asian Games and Commonwealth Games put up strong performances in track and field events. India's Hima Das, Neeraj Chopra, Mohammad Annas showed everyone that they can compete at the bigger stage.
In order to further motivate youngsters and to provide them with much-needed exposure, the government decided to launch the Khelo Indian Youth Games. This also helps to recognise young talent and helps them to mould into future stars. This season of Khelo India Youth Games has already witnessed some extraordinary individual performances from some of the young athletes of India. Some of the young athletes have already set the track on fire with their extraordinary performances.
Track events are the most watched events in athletics. Short distance running (i.e, sprinting) like 100m, 200m, 110m hurdles are the most fascinating and viewed events. These events require good technique, mental toughness, a lot of practice and dedication to succeed at the bigger stage. So this article will mainly focus on young Indian sprinters.
India has never won a medal in track events in Olympics. The following young athletes have the potential and talent to break this drought.
#1 Nisar Ahmed
This 16-year-old sprinter from Delhi made the headlines when he clocked 10.76 seconds to take the gold in 100m in last years' Khelo India Youth Games. He also clocked 21.73 seconds in the 200m. After winning gold in the last edition of Khelo India Youth games, he flew to Jamaica to train in Racers Track Club which is home to Usain Bolt and other legendary athletes.
In this edition of the Youth games, he sailed comfortably to take the heats with 11.09 seconds and marched comfortably to win the finals with a timing of 10.96 seconds.
#2 Alden Noronha
This young lad from Maharastra is a champion when it comes to 110m hurdles. He was the favourite to win the 110m hurdles for U-21 boys. As expected, he raced comfortably through to the finals. On the finals day, though he was expected to ease through to victory, he faced a very strong and tough challenge from Kerala lad Mohammad C. Both were neck and neck till the finish and almost had a photo finish, but somehow Alden Noronha found a way to get past his opponent and sealed the gold medal.
This youngster is from St Dominic Savio school in Mumbai. He had broken two records in Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) inter-school athletics at the age of 15, Alden finished the 100m hurdles race with a timing of 13.9 seconds, 0.4 seconds faster than the previous record in the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) inter-school athletics.
Alden has a strong technique which is very important required for hurdles and this earned him gold in this edition of Khelo India Youth Games.
#3 Nithin B
Nithin, hailing from Tamil Nadu, was the fastest athlete in this edition of the Khelo India Youth Games. Karnataka's Prajwal Mandana gave Nithin a tough fight but eventually lost his lead to Nithin at the 70m mark and from there on Nithin raced away to victory. Prajwal Mandana took silver and finished the race with one-tenth of a second behind Nithin. Nithin clocked 10.76 seconds to take the gold.
Nithin, when asked about his future goals, answered that he wants to clock 10.2 seconds in 100m and go below 21 seconds in 200m by next year. Nithin is surely progressing towards his goal, as he clocked 21.65 seconds in the 200m heats. Nithin clinched a double by winning the gold in 200m as well, he clocked 21.57 seconds in the finals.
#4 Avantika Narale
Pune's Avantika Narale became the fastest youth girl when she clocked 12.36 seconds in the 100m finals of the first Khelo India Youth Games. Her first love happened to be Kabaddi. However, her speed and pace was noticed by her physical trainer Shivaji Mehta and urged her to take up athletics. She then started to train under Sanjay Patankar and from there was no looking back.
Her campaign in the second edition of Khelo India Youth Games started off with a disaster. She was involved in an unusual and controversial start in 100m heats, she never took off and thought that it was false start from one of her fellow competitors but the recall whistle was never blown and the other five athletes finished the race leaving Avantika with a non-finish. But she had put the disappointment away and came out with full energy and focus to win a gold for Maharastra the very next day in 4x100m relay.
She got off to a good start in the 200m heats; she finished first and raced to the finals easily. She separated herself from the rest of the field and at the 150m mark, it was sure that it's her race to win. She clocked 24.74 seconds and happened to be the only under-17 girl to finish the race under 25 seconds. In the finals, she took the lead early and from there on she was completely in a different race altogether. She took gold and bettered her heat timing, with clocked 24.47 seconds in the 200m finals.