This Saturday we all celebrated the festival of Eid in our own different ways. But, somewhere in the slums of Delhi, a boy gave the entire nation a reason to swell with pride and rejoice in his achievement.
Nisar Ahmed was born into a poverty-stricken family in Delhi where his father peddles a rickshaw for a living and mother washes utensils at people’s houses. He grew up in a congested slum where open drains and sewer filled his dingy house with unbearable stink.
Despite having poverty, lack of food, and dearth of resources as his constant companion, Nisar dedicated his life towards hard work and making his parents proud. He was motivated to take up athletics on the insistence of Surrender Singh, his physical training teacher from government school.
According to Singh, Ahmed didn’t even have the basic material requirements for running. “But once I saw him run, I urged him to take up running and to be an athlete.”
Surrender then made him participate in the inter-zonal event where Ahmed whizzed as an able runner. An year after that, his training spot changed from school to the Chhatrasal Stadium which was a kilometer away from his home, and so did his coach. He continued his practice under coach Sunita Rai. His routine starts at 5 am with practice, followed by a meal at home, then school, and ends with another training session at the stadium.
Nisar lives in a small room next to the railway tracks at Azadpur’s Bada Bagh Slum. His trophies and achievements still find a corner in the house as a sign of family’s pride. Ahmed’s father earns around Rs 200 in a day and to enable his son to take up running as a sport his father had to borrow an amount of Rs 28,000. This amount was spent on Nisar’s sports gears, diet, and other material requirements. Ahmed’s mother says she feels guilty for not being able to provide proper diet for her son. Her respite is that together they are able to manage meat for Nisar at least once in a week.
This Eid, when Ahmed’s father was busy peddling the rickshaw and his mother who had taken an off from work to make a special Eid meal, Ahmed brought home his second gold medal at the Delhi State Athletics Meet. In 100m and 200m, he scored the timings that questioned all earlier national u-16 records. Along with this, the teen sport champion also became the fastest in the capital by being faster than 0.02 seconds and breaking the record of the state men’s winner this year.
Nisar’s parents were not able to witness the race and the award ceremony saying they couldn’t afford to lose a day’s pay. His dedication was the answer for every blow that came his way. He doesn’t want his mother to work in others’ house and so he is ready to give every second of his life to be the best sprinter and bring more laurels.
Ahmed has surpassed the record of under-16 100m by being 0.01s faster than MS Arun and 0.3s faster than Chandan Bauri in 200m in 2013.
Coming home with the medal, made him realize that this is all he wanted as passing by the entire lane to whoever he met he just said, “Do national record tod diya”.