Sadanand Kumar had an interesting journey from Chandol Barkagaon village in Jharkhand's Hazaribagh district to becoming a repeat winner of the men's 100m crown in the Khelo India Youth Games at the Tau Devi Lal Sports Complex here on Tuesday.
Born 25km southwest of Hazaribagh, Sadanand bested the National Junior record with a time of 10.63 seconds on Tuesday.
Over the past two years, Sadanand has been training in the Sports Authority of India's National Centre of Excellence in Kolkata. He was spotted at a school meeting where he won a sprint race. A goodly physical education teacher Sriranjan Singh encouraged him to pursue sports.
The Jharkhand State Sports Promotion Society picked him up to join an academy in Hotwar. And, in 2016, he represented the Hazaribagh district in the National Inter-District Junior Athletics Meet in Visakhapatnam.
The victory in the Khelo India Youth Games in Guwahati was a turning point. He had clocked 10.98 in heats and claimed gold in 10.95 seconds in the final. That prompted the Sports Authority of India's talent scouts to encourage him to join the SAI National Centre of Excellence (NCOE) in Kolkata.
"I cannot have asked for a better location than the SAI NCOE in Kolkata to take my career forward. I have all that an athlete can ask for to train well without worrying about anything. We have a good sports science back up too to enable the right kind of training, including recovery so that athletes get back to the track feeling fresh each time," said Sadanand Kumar in a statement.
"Besides, I was unsure of some of the new athletes here," Sadanand Kumar said. It was a call to SAI coach Sanjay Ghosh that calmed his nerves. The coach reminded him of his pacy repetitions in training, guided him through a meditation session and got him to replay images of his win in Guwahati. "That conversation helped boost my confidence," he said.
"I realised that practice is harder than a competitive race. And I told myself to not feel pressure anymore by thinking it was a training run," he added.
And having shaved off 0.15 seconds from his previous personal best time to win Khelo India Youth Games 100m title again, Sadanand is now confident that he can get better by training right. (ANI)