Mohammad Anas broke his own national record of 45.4 seconds in the Men’s 400m finals to win the gold medal at the Indian Grand Prix Athletics meet in Delhi. He bettered his own timing by clocking 45.32 at the finish line. It was a commendable feat achieved by the 22-year-old given the harsh summer conditions of Delhi in mid-May.
Being the most probable winner for the event, the pressure was on Anas to perform at his best. But he responded to the pressure as well as he could. The silver medallist in the race clocked over a second from Anas and was left 9 meters short when he crossed the finish line. Anuroop John, who came fourth in the 100m sprints, is a fellow athlete from Kerala as Anas. Speaking about his performance John said, “One thing about Anas is that he doesn’t get bothered about the kind of competition he is facing. He usually manages to stay calm and run. That’s his biggest strength,”
“The problem Anas is facing is that he wasn’t getting anyone to push him. Unless your opponents are running a good race, it’s difficult to run fast yourself,” he added.
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Anas had set the last record in June last year as became the third Indian after Milkha Singh and KM Binu to qualify for the Olympics in this event. However, due to his injuries, he was eliminated in the heats itself. “It was my first Olympics but it wasn’t as if I was nervous. I was carrying an injury in my gluteus muscle. That is what made it difficult,” Anas said.
Working currently in the Navy, he does no compromise with his training and even with limited finances has always been able to meet his expectations. The timing of 45.32 made this the fastest run by any Asian athlete and helped him qualify for the World Championships in London later this year. “It’s good that I ran a personal best over here, but my goal is to run inside 45 seconds,” he said following the contest.
Anas has a lot to look forward to as the Federation Cup will be approaching in a couple of weeks followed by the Asian Championships in June this year. This performance can give a boost to his confidence ahead of these important events. The World Championships is what he would be completely focusing on as exclaimed by the national coach, Kunhu Mohammad, “The conditions in London should be ideal for running. As long as he stays injury free, Anas will only improve on his performance here. Right now, he is nowhere near his peak. We are following a training program that should have him peak before the World Championships,”
Competing in the Taiwan leg of the Asian Grand Prix last month he secured the gold by recording a time of 45.69. The conditions in Taiwan were much more favourable than Delhi at this time of the year, but the biggest problem he faced there too was the lack of competition. However, this won’t surely be the case when he competes in the World Championships in August.
“Now, my focus will be to win a medal in the Asian Championships in July and do my best in the World Championships,” Anas said. His biggest challenge there would be South Africa’s world record holder Wayde Van Niekerk with a timing of 43.03 in the Olympics last year.