One of the rising stars to come up in the Indian Athletics, Mohammed Anas Yahiya made every Indian proud, when he missed the podium finish, just by a whisker at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Background of Mohammed Anas
Born on 17th September, 1994 in a humble background in Kerala, Mohammed Anas Yahiya grew up at Valayidam in Nilamel and was initiated into athletics when he was in class V.
Recalling the early phase of his life, when he had to stop sports altogether, after his father passed away, Mohammed Anas says, “I was in Class 10 at that time. At that stage in my life, I did not imagine that I will get such a platform or even be a sportsman.” It’s with his family’s support that he eventually got back to the sports turf.
His mother Sheena helped Anas pursue his dreams after his father passed away working in Gulf due to heart attack.
How it all started for Mohammed Anas
Mohammed Anas was a long jumper during his early days until school coach had a vacancy in the 400. At a carnival, he was been asked to run where he clocked 49 seconds, enough to beat many good athletes. Anas won the Calicut university championship twice and a silver medal in the Indian University Championship 2014. Mohammed Anas was a part of the 4x400m relay squad of Kerala that won the silver medal in the National Games being held in February, 2015.
He was picked up by the talent scouting team of the Indian Navy and was been trained under the guidance of former international athlete, TG Ajesh who was his coach.
A silver medal in the 400m event in his first senior National Athletics championships added glory to his already existing bag of achievements. For the first time, the athlete improved his timings below 46 seconds during the events of Indian Grand Prix & the Federation Cup events held in Delhi in April 2016. Under the guidance & training of national coach Muhammed Kunhi, a former champion of services (400m),the quartet of Anas, Kunhu Mohamed, Ayyaswamy Dharun & Arokia Rajiv successfully broke their own national record enabling them to jump to 13th place in World rankings.
April 10, 2018 – The unforgettable day for Mohammed Anas
April 10 would go down as one of the most remarkable days in the history of sports for many people.
Just a few minutes before sunset in India, Mohammed Anas Yahiya, finished fourth in the men’s 400m track event at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Yahiya missed out on the bronze medal and its associated frenzy and fame merely by a few seconds.
For most of us that is where this story would end here….
It wasn’t just his personal best…
The time in which Anas finished the 400m race is a new national record for India…
He was also the first athlete from India in 60 years to reach the finals of a track event at the Commonwealth Games….
He ran the 400 metres semifinals in the Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast in 45.44 which is less than what the “Flying Sikh” – Legendary Milkha Singh had achieved during the Melbourne Commonwealth Games,1958. (Milkha Singh achieved the feat in 46.6 seconds)
which makes the day unforgettable for the Indian athlete….
For someone who started off with serious athletics only in his higher secondary school days, and who faced discouragement in various forms throughout his sports career, this can definitely be termed an achievement par excellence.
Why it took 58 years to break Legendary record …
His coach P B Jayakumar says, “There were many adverse circumstances that marred his performances. The association initially didn’t have a plan to give him an individual run as he was not in the camp, but had trained with me instead. The inclusion was an afterthought. I won’t say that he was in the best state of mind due to many such reasons. It’s not easy for an athlete to bring out his full potential in such a situation.”
India has managed just one gold medal since 1980, when shooter Abhinav Bindra became the first individual to win gold for his country at the 10 meter air rifle event in 2008. The country’s previous gold medals, eight between 1928-1980, were all in field hockey.
High poverty levels aren’t a sufficient reason either, seeing as other countries with low levels of per-capita income, such as Kenya and Jamaica, consistently fare better.
“Unless there is a synergized sports culture you will never win a string of medals.
Indeed, education tends be the highest priority for the average Indian household instead of extra-curricular activities such as sports. A popular Hindi saying roughly translates to “if you study hard you will live like a king but if you play sports you will ruin your life.”
Moreover, there’s little support for those who display athletic prowess.
Scarce public investible resources have eluded sports.This is further compounded by misallocation, lack of transparency, poor asset management and an absence of a framework for measuring impact of public spending. This is unlikely to change, despite the government’s best intentions.
There are scholarships and endowments for athletes that guarantee a basic minimum standard of living, but this system is fraught with bureaucratic red tape, political interference, conflicts of interest and corruption, he noted.
Sporting associations itself are no strangers to scandals.
“India does not have a sports culture,” explained Boria Majumdar, a leading Indian sports scholar who’s authored numerous books on the topic. Indian athletes who have achieved international success are exceptions rather than products of the country’s sports system, he said.
Doping controversies : Indian Athletics
Though the world of sports has seen brilliant performances by many persons and teams over the years, controversies played their part to mar sportspersons.
Indian athletes are no exceptions…
- In 2000, discus thrower Seema Antil was stripped of her gold medal at the World Junior Championships for testing positive for psuedoephedrine, a sympathomimetic drug often used as a nasal/sinus decongestant and stimulant.
- In 2005, discus throwers Anil Kumar and Neelam Singh were handed two-year suspension for testing positive.
- In 2010, shot putter Saurabh Vij got a two-year ban for testing positive for banned stimulant Methylhexaneamine. However, India’s National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) cleared him within weeks and he was allowed to participate in the Commonwealth Games.
- Also in 2011, sprinter Jauna Murmu tested positive for Methandienone in an out of competition and was subsequently handed a two-year doping ban.
In April 2015, one of the biggest doping scandals to hit India emerged when 21 weightlifters were provisionally suspended by the Indian Weightlifting Federation after they tested positive for banned substances across different championships. Later that year, Punjab thrower Ketki Sethi was banned for eight years after she failed a dope test during the national meet in Patiala.
Recently at the CWG, Indian race walker K T Irfan and triple jumper V Rakesh Babu were sent home in disgrace from the Commonwealth Games and a strong reprimand issued to the Indian officials after the duo was found guilty of breaching the event’s strict no needle policy.
Some Bright Stars like Mohammed Anas looks good…
It is just a matter of time when India produces that first athlete who wins a medal at a major international event like the Olympics or a World Championship and a number of youngsters will begin to follow his/her footsteps.
Indians have the talent, perfect body structure for long distance but the only thing is they should be motivated and they show knowhow to train.
The heart of the matter Mohammed Anas
Mohammed Anas was the fourth-fastest amongst all the qualifiers in the semi-finals, with Botswana’s Isaac Makwala qualifying as the fastest runner. The Indian was trailing in fourth position, with around 150 meters left to go but, then gained pace to leave the others behind. He won his heat by a margin of 0.33 seconds, with Jamaica’s Rusheen McDonald coming second.