Image Credits: Nithin
Enjoying a flurry of Personal Bests in his second year at the Vivekananda College, the 20-year-old Nithin capped a splendid start to 2019 with an outstanding sprinting golden double, and knocking out a new personal best along the way of 21.57 s in 200m, which would have earned him a top 16 rank in India last year. Coupled with that, Nithin also won 100m Gold, with the timing 10.76s.
Should his progression continue than further success beckons for Nithin, who also has half-an-eye on international horizons next four year by qualifying for the Asian Games at 2022 and 2024 Paris Olympics. Now back in Chennai madly catching up on his missed college, Nithin found some time to answer some questions for Fisto Sports.
Can you share us the story on how you get into athletics in first place?
I have always had a passion for running fast and a fascination with speed. It was always fun to run, although at first, of course, I started off as a cricketer, to enhance my fitness I underwent ground training and it was there that an uncle suggested me to take up athletics as I was quicker and it was then that I enrolled myself into athletics. And over time, I started to love sprinting. My passion grew further when I later discovered sprinting could enable me the opportunity of getting one day, to travel the world.
You recently won sprinting golden double at the Khelo India 2019. How happy are you about this amazing result and are you still on a high (you should be)?
I was really excited with my 200m results and loved the opportunity to compete on the big stage with my teammates. Winning two gold medals was a surreal experience but coming home to college assessments was a bit of a reality check! Nevertheless, I really enjoyed myself and I have come away with some incredible memories.
Going into the event were you confident you could challenge for the podium?
I knew I was feeling fit and that I had done the work needed leading into gold. I felt confident and I believed in my ability to make the podium but it was important to approach the heat, semi and final as one-step at a time. Once I had qualified to race in the final I knew that anything was possible and the race was anyone’s game. And, I was confident enough that I could complete the double.
Have you always primarily been a sprinter or you tried long distance running before choosing 100m and 200m?
Yes, from the beginning, I have always been a 100 and 200m runner, but now I’m thinking of give up on 100m and concentrate on 200m and 400m. Why because, I don’t think I will be able to do 100m in under 10 seconds, which is a prerequisite to do well at the top level. My personal best in 100m is 10.70 seconds. I think my age is right to make the transition to 400m.
Who have been some of your pioneering supporters over the years and why?
I think the most supportive individuals have been my family, especially my Mom. They have funded my dream and are the reason I have stayed in the sport. Without them, it’s hard to imagine what my life would be. Similarly, Coach Mohammed Riaz has been just as supportive. Working with him has taught me how to be a better athlete, both on and off the track.
What do you feel are your main strength in athletics?
As an athlete I have immense confidence in my skills and abilities and I consider it as one of my biggest asset.
Who are some friends/teammates that have inspired and motivated you?
There has been a lot of people who have motivated me comprising of my club mates and I would like to save some special credits to my seniors who I can always count upon.
How do you deal with the pressure of having to perform in front of the crowd?
I have rarely felt it as an added pressure on me, I guess it is a matter of perception and I see the positive side of it, afterall they are there to encourage and cheer us!
What’s some of the best advice you ever received regarding running/life and from who?
I’m not sure if there has been a single person, but the best advice I have received is from J.Surender (hurdler), who said ‘enjoy what you”. Enjoy the journey. Enjoy the process. Athletics is a pretty tough sport.
How do you handle missing out on activities with friends because of your athletic schedule?
Haha yes, it is difficult at times. But I am lucky to have friends who are totally supportive of my passion and interests and even schedule meet ups to match my availability.
How does being an athlete make you a better person?
Athletics has imbibed a lot of discipline in me and has helped me remain focused and kept me away from all the negative and unwanted things which in turn helps me lead a healthy life.
What are some of the key aspects of your heat and final race plans that you and your coach discussed?
My plans were to take each race one at a time. I had to relax and do whatever I needed to do to get to the next level. I had talked to my Coach Riaz before my races, he wanted me to warm up well, wear my spikes and stride and place myself in a good position from the start, since the race was during the night and then I just tried to cover anything that happened during the race.
Athletes have to eat healthy foods to be in top shape. What foods do you have to give up when you're in training?
I just try to avoid eating junk food during my athletic meets. Who do you look up to on the running scene and why? Usain Bolt would be my obvious pick. Though his running technique is an inevitable factor I have found his undivided focus and the way he has tuned himself into his goals inspiring.
What have been your major highlights/achievements in athletics?
Gold in 100m at the Khelo India Youth Games 2019 Gold in 200m at the Khelo India Youth Games 2019 Gold in 4*100 at the South Asian Games. Silver in 200m at the South Asian Games. Bronze in 4*100 at the Asian Championship. Participated in IAAF World Championship 2018.
Off the track what are your hobbies and interests?
I enjoy listening to good music and love playing games at my spare time. It helps me take my mind off all the pressure and I have found it as one of the best sources of relaxation.
What are some of your medium/short term goals? (within the next year or so)
I have the Inter-state Athletics Championship that is fast approaching and I am currently preparing myself for it and in terms of long-term I would like to see myself qualifying the 2022 Asian games and 2024 Olympics.
Favorite movie about sports: Dangal
Favorite Actress: Samantha.
Toughest opponent: Myself.
Who comes to your meets to cheer you on: My coach and my Mom.
Current favorite TV series: Blindspot