One of the rising stars to come up in the Indian Athletics, Mohammed Anas Yahiya made every Indian proud even after missing the podium finish, just by a whisker at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. The Indian runner broke the national record and completed the 400 m race in 45.31 secs. The Asian champion couldn’t get us a medal but broke his own national record. He is all set to perform in the upcoming 18th Asian games, to be held in Jakarta, in August. Let us know the athlete and his hard work to reach where he is today.
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 5th standard.
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 while working in Gulf, due to an heart attack.
How it all started for Mohammed Anas
Mohammed Anas was a long jumper during his early days, until his school coach had a vacancy in the 400. It happened at a carnival where the coach asked him to run. And he clocked 49 seconds, enough to beat many good athletes present there.
This was just the begining, as Anas won the Calicut university championship twice and a silver medal in the Indian University Championship 2014. Mohammed Anas became the part of the 4x400m relay squad of Kerala that won the silver medal in the National Games being , in February 2015.
It was then, he got picked by the talent scouting team of the Indian Navy and was started training 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 glorified 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 the 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.
But 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 45.31 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 had never seen athletics till in his higher secondary school. And he who faced discouragement in various forms throughout his life and 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. This was when shooter Abhinav Bindra became the first individual to win gold at the 10 meter air rifle event in 2008. The country’s previous gold medals, eight between 1928-1980, were all in field hockey.
Do you think high poverty levels can be sufficient reason? Other countries with much lower 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.” – Boria Majumdar, co-author of the book, Playing It My Way, the autobiography of former Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar , along with Sachin.
With a huge population of the country illiterate, education tends be on the highest priority for an average Indian parent. Sports on the other hand is considered an extra-curricular activity in India. 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.”
But they are themselves not educated about the education, sports give intrinsically to the children. These life gets even difficult to impart with formal education. The skills may range from co-ordination among peer to performing under high intensity pressure.
Moreover, there’s very less support for those who go beyond all shackles and display their athletic prowess.
Scarce public investible resources have been eluding sports for a long time now. This is further aggravated by misallocation of funds, lack of transparency in the processes, poor on ground asset management and a missing framework for measuring impact of the money spent in the domain. The big question is will all of this change, despite of the best intentions of current government.
The scholarships and endowments offered to athletes that guarantee a basic minimum standard of living, but bureaucracy in the system, political interference in form of referrals, conflicts of interest and corruption, have been the major causes for the plight of many international athletes. Sporting associations itself are no strangers to scandals.
“Indian athletes who have achieved international success are exceptions rather than products of the country’s sports system” – Boria Majumdar
Doping controversies : Indian Athletics
The sports world have been experiencing brilliant performances over the years. Controversies played their part for many international sports persons at the same time.
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.
- Discus throwers Anil Kumar and Neelam Singh were handed two-year suspension for testing positive, in 2005
- 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. She was subsequently handed a two-year doping ban.
One of the biggest doping scandals to hit India emerged in April 2015, when 21 weightlifters were provisionally suspended by the Indian Weightlifting Federation, after they tested positive for banned substances across different championships. Later that year, thrower Ketki Sethi from Punjab, was banned for eight years as she failed a dope test during the national meet in Patiala.
At the recent CWG our race walkers, K T Irfan and our triple jumper V Rakesh Babu were sent back home in disgrace. Indian officials were issued a strong reprimand, 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 in athletes for long distance runs. But the only thing is, they need the right motivation and they need the right knowledge on how to train.
The heart of the matter Mohammed Anas
Mohammed Anas was the fourth-fastest amongst all the qualifiers in the semi-finals. While Botswana’s Isaac Makwala qualified as the fastest runner. The Indian was trailing in fourth position, with around 150 meters left to go. But then he turned the tide and 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.