The big garden slum of Azadpur area of Delhi is in the sun these days. This slum, situated along the side of the rail tracks, is grappling with the mess and lack of public facilities like common slums. 16-year-old runner Nisar Ahmed lives in a small cell of the same settlement. The brilliance of their success has made this slum very special. Like the rest of the women in the township, Nisar’s mother also makes a round-table in the house. The father drives a rickshaw. Nisar was five when he was admitted to a nearby government school. He started going to school with torn bags and old books. The family did not have the money to buy uniforms and new shoes. Even in the midst of all the shortages, the little Nisar never refused to go to school. Along with studies, they were also very fast in the race. He started participating in the school’s annual race competition. After the victory, things like copy-pencil were available as a reward. But these rewards were very special for him. It was four years ago. He was then 12 years old. The sports teacher noticed that this boy is very fast in the race. If given a good training, it can become a great runner. Nisar says- I never thought I would be a runner. Sports teacher Surendra Kumar recognized my talent and motivated me to run. They helped me a lot. On his advice, my training started.
He was practiced daily in the school playground. It was very difficult to run with studies. Weakness started being felt. Focus on health and food was important. It is recommended to drink milk twice a day during training. But the financial condition of the house was not such that he could buy milk. Nisar says – My sports teacher used to give me money quietly and say that to drink milk. It is very important for your health.
After initial preparations, he was sent for training at Chhatrasal Stadium. Nisar’s life changed after coming here. Six hours of exercise and running were practiced daily. This increased his physical ability and also increased the pace of the race. But the real problem was the infrastructure. Money was needed for sports kits, travel expenses etc. Many a times felt that the dream of becoming a runner would remain incomplete. Nisar says – Many times the courage was broken. But my coach and friends say that you have to be the champion. Their cooperation is my strength. With that I am moving forward. Even though the father was not educated, he easily read the dream that was instilled in the eyes of the son. To fulfill his dream, he took a loan of Rs 28,000 last year. Father Mohammad Haq says – I am slowly trying to pay off the debt. Interest also has to be paid. Only one dream is that my son becomes champion. I want the son not to suffer the sorrows I have endured.
In 2014, he got a chance to play at the national level. However, Nisar did not reach the final. Last year he won two gold medals in the Ferrata race in Delhi. The special thing is that he broke the record of National Under-16 players. Nisar completed the 100 meters in just 10.82 seconds, the previous record being 11.2 seconds. Nisar dominated the 200 meter race as well. Father Mohammad Haq says- My son has won 35 medals so far. Everyone says that he is very clever. It feels good when I hear people praise him. Nisar has neatly decorated a lot of medals in his small cell. Whenever he returns home with the medal, neighbors gather to congratulate him. Although this
Success has changed nothing in his parents’ lives. Mother still leaves for work in the morning. Papa takes out a ride with a rickshaw. Both of them are under tremendous pressure to repay the debt, which they are reluctant to disclose to their son. Nisar says- feels bad when mother makes utensils in others’ house. The day my circumstances change, I will not allow my mother to work. He has become accustomed to the sound of trains due to being located on the side of the railway tracks. They remember which train will pass when. Nisar says – the sound of trains is common for us. When the train passes very close to the settlement, we feel the earth moving. Now we are used to it.
Nisar has been receiving the title of best athlete for the last three years. Recently 13 players from the country have been selected for the special training. Nisar’s name is also included in these. He will get a chance to practice at the Jamaica Kngston Racers Club during the training beginning on 15 January. Nisar says- I always wanted to be like the star champion Usain Bolt. Hope to meet him in Jamaica.