Back on track, Muhammed Anas aims at Asian, world meets to make Tokyo

The Asian Games silver medallist, who wants to qualify for the individual event at the Olympics, was stuck indoors for three months at NIS, Patiala.

By Rahul Venkat

With the international sporting calendar beginning to open up after the enforced break due to COVID-19, athletes are gradually gearing up to get back to their happy place.

Among them is star Indian runner Muhammed Anas who is happy to be back to his normal routines in outdoor conditions.

“It feels good. Yes, to be running on the track feels good. Training indoors is totally different. It’s great we are able to ease into our training routines now,” the 25-year-old told the Athletics Federation of India (AFI).

Muhammed Anas was at a national camp along with other Indian athletes at the Netaji Subhash National Institute of Sports (NIS) in Patiala when the lockdown was imposed in India and he could not return home to Kerala.

Training indoors for a period of two months was something they had never experienced before and it came with its own challenges.

However, it allowed them the opportunity to stay close to their trainers amid the pandemic, which meant that they were able to maintain basic fitness levels with regular drills.

“In the early stages, it was tough to only train within the four walls,” admitted the double Asian Games silver-medallist.

“But we got used to it. I would do some core and strength exercise each day to maintain my fitness.”

Team unity

Apart from physical well-being, Muhammed Anas also took to doing meditation and yoga to de-stress himself mentally, a process he claimed helped him deal with the tough phase better.

And one other factor was the fact that he had his fellow Olympian sprinters Arokia Rajiv, a former 400m national record holder, and Ayyasamy Dharun for company.

“They all are friendly, and we all are united, no matter what situation we face. We are encouraging and motivating one another,” explained Muhammed Anas.

The duo had been recuperating from injuries at the national camp and the resumption of training has coincided with their return.

“They were on rehab but as professional athletes, they returned to the camp in good shape. So, they were good when they trained with us,” he added.

Muhammed Anas, who was part of the team 4x400 mixed relay team that qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, is focused on securing his individual qualification as well as preparing for the Asian Athletics Championships and World Athletics Championships next year.