Image Credits: Team Fisto
Quartermiler Noah Nirmal Tom talks about his journey as an athlete – early days, faith and hardships, where he finds his inspiration and what he does in lockdown to unwind and how it has made him the person he is today.
What have you been up to? Tell us how you have been spending your time & what precautions are you taking to battle this virus?
Personally, I am doing great through these tough times, despite the complexities the lockdown is bringing on. I have been sticking on to my daily fitness routine monitored by our Physio and coach, and playing a lot of games. I am staying indoors in my hostel and I’ve been following the norms of social distancing and keeping it safe from the people outside. I think it’s all about making myself fit and healthy to move forward.
When this is over, what's the first thing you're planning to do?
Post lockdown we will be sticking on to the plan which will be laid out by our coach. My personal plan is to set on a vacation, refresh my pages and to give a fresh start for the next Olympics Games.
Can you elaborate a little about your past and what made you get into Athletics?
It was my school coach, Jose Sebestian, who spotted my talent and insisted on making a career in athletics and started tutoring me. After that in 2010, I enrolled myself in the Sports Authority of India hostel Kozhikode. Coach George P Joseph there, turned my course to 400metres, which was the biggest turning point in my career. And from there in 2014, I made my cut into the India Air force under coach Rajmohan MK and he churned a professional 400 metre runner out of me and made me run 45:96 seconds and I made it to the Indian camp on October 2018.
When I evaluate my running style it is more like catch them at last. I don’t know who I can compare it with.
Who have been some of your pioneering supporters over the years and why?
My parents are my pioneering supporters who have buttressed my career throughout. My mother was a National Handball player and a gold medal winner herself, and she has been my pillar of support from the start. My father always inspires and motivates me with the Bible verses. My siblings have also been of immense support.
Where do you train? And what does a typical training week look like for you?
I train with 400 national campers here in Patiala and other places. A typical training is like the biggest horror.
Who are and were your athletics inspirations?
Actually, I don't have any such inspirations in athletics. I consider Mohamad Anas, who also falls under the same discipline as me, my inspiration. I always perceive challenges in accordance with him, it’s like if he can do it, I can also do it.
Every athlete needs some downtime every now and then. What do you do when you’re not training and racing? Do you have other hobbies to take your mind off running?
When I am on vacation I go back home to stay with my family and friends. I like to travel a lot and it eases in, a lot of comfort in me.
In terms of the final stages of preparation, what will the last couple of days look like, as we get closer to running/meet day? And is there anything specific you’ll be doing on race morning, to focus the mind and calm the nerves?
Meet day or race day will be a very special day because it’s for the day we prepare for a whole year, so pressure is an inevitable factor. I start my day as usual by spending time with Jesus reading bible and chanting prayers. And I try to sit and strike a conversation with my friends as it decimates the burning pressure.
What do you feel are your main strength in athletics?
The killer instinct I have is my main strength. Catching a lead over somebody in track or beating the opponent is my top priority and that is one my major assets.
What do you hope to achieve in the future?
I am looking forward to doing well at the Asian games and Commonwealth Games and I’m concentrating more on the individual event.
Share with us 3 items in your training bag.
Water bottle, Spikes, Towels
Can you describe how do you feel, when you heard that the mixed relay team has qualified for Tokyo Olympics. How was the experience to run at the World Athletics Championship for first time?
We were told that we would qualify for the Olympics, if we step onto the finals of the World Championship. We were so happy, proud and thankful when we saw the result and confirmed our berths to Tokyo. The World Championship at Doha, was a big stage. We were mixed up with excitement and nervousness, but decided to run and make India proud.
Can you describe about race at National Open Athletics Championships 2019, where you won the gold medal among some tough competitions from senior athletes.
We were told to participate at the National Athletics Championships immediately after the World Championship and so, we directly came on to the Ranchi, Jharkhand from Doha. But I was unsure about my fitness and I was the defending Champion in 400metres. I did not expect anything of the race and I am extremely glad and thankful to God on wrapping up the Championship.
How is your preparation going for Tokyo Olympics. Do You think there is a chance of you qualifying in individual event?
Keeping 2021 Olympics, in the focus I am currently only concentrating in relays. Making myself more fit and bringing out my best in relays is my ultimate priority at the moment. But definitely I should improve my 400m individual timing for relays.