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Abrar Choudhary’s remarkable achievement, brings Jammu back on racing track

Last Updated on October 15, 2021 at 11:13 am

On Tuesday, Abrar Choudhary, the first athlete from Jammu and Kashmir to win a national title in a very long time as he clocked 48.56 seconds to clinch the gold medal in the boys’ under-20 final of the National Open 400m Championships.

Seeing athletes from J&K is rare and seeing them win medals is rarer. But Choudhary has made a remarkable achievement who is from Sainik Colony, Chowadi, a village next to Jammu city.

Choudhary said that his village is not famous and only well known because it’s on the way from Jammu to the Vaishno Devi temple. He added that there’s no scope for sports here because of lack of facilities.

He started taking track racing seriously only 10 months ago as earlier he wanted to pursue kickboxing. Choudhary used to run five kilometres. He would take part in the state trials and end up representing J&K, starting from the school nationals. After a chance meeting with Rohtash Siwach, Abrar took a decision to shift base to Rohtak, Haryana, to train.

But it was not easy for Choudhary as while his training and his progression in sport was going well but he had problem related to finances. Choudhary said that he had to think a lot before purchasing anything. He added that he had only one pair of spikes that he bought 10 months ago and kit that he wore to win is old as well.

Talking about his performance, at the North Zone Junior Athletics Championships held in Meerut early this year, Choudhary won the U-20 400m race with a timing of 49.8 seconds. He also bagged the silver medal in 200m. He was a finalist in the Junior National Championships held in Guwahati.

Siwach said that he is extremely explosive and he also had a lot of endurance because of the kind of training he had been doing in Jammu but he didn’t have the sprint endurance that he needed over the 400m.

“At the start, whenever I was allotted a lane to run on, people would think ‘oh he’s from Jammu. He’s probably not very good. Just put him in lane 8’. Running on the outer track is really hard. It’s very technical and I had to adapt very fast to that,” he says.

But, Choudhary continued to improve. Just three months after he started specialized training, he would shave a couple of seconds off his timing at the 2019 School Games as he won a gold medal at the Junior North Zone Athletics Championships with a time of 49.80 seconds. At the U-23 nationals in Delhi last month, he’d make the semifinals with an improved time of 48.60.

Abrar hopes to keep improving as his ultimate dream is to represent the country in the 2024 Paris Olympics. He added that Olympics is the goal and for that he has to reduce his timings considerably and believes that he can do it.