For Assam’s champion sprinter Amlan Borgohain, teacher’s insult still rings as he runs
Sprinter Amlan Borgohain

Ahmedabad: Bullied by a teacher in middle school, with discouraging terms of being a “forever failure” still resonates in the national record holder in 100m and 200m sprint, Amlan Borgohain’s mind during his races. 

The Assamese sprinter, who pocketed the gold medal in the men’s 100m event at the 36th National Games opened up during an interaction with EastMojo on his early struggles, and the teacher’s taunts which he uses as a pushing force during his races. Amlan no more wants to lose, not even the toughest of races in both life and track.

“It happened when I was in class 6th. I was just 11 years old when my school teacher called me a ‘loser’ and ‘good for nothing’ in front of my father and the entire class. He told my father ‘your son won’t be able to do anything in his life’”.

And what made the teacher say so? 

“It’s because of my stammering…It was difficult for me to speak a sentence normally in one go like other students. I was bullied by fellow students in school because of my stammering. I can’t forget those words from my teacher. They resonate in my mind every time I race,” the sprinter said.

“Is it a crime to be born differently from others?” asks Borgohain as his tone gets emotional.

Born to retired Army man BC Borgohain in Jorhat on April 25, 1998, Amlan’s tryst with athletics dates back to 2015. A huge fan of Manchester United superstar Christian Ronaldo, the young Assam athlete started off as a footballer at the junior level.

However, frequent injuries during his football-playing days left his mother concerned, but the thought of quitting sport entirely gave him nightmares, until one day when he was advised by his elder brother’s friend to try track events. 

The youngster, however, did not pay much heed to the advice but continuous freak injuries cut short his football career and made him rethink of an alternate route after his first love — football. 

Borgohain Sr’s transferable job took young Amlan to Hyderabad, where he gave glimpses of his brilliance on the track by clinching gold at the Hyderabad Juniors Inter-District Championship 100 m race that qualified him for state-level competitions. 

On Friday, in the 100m sprint semifinals, Amlan had broken the National Games record, set at 10.45s by Haryana’s Dharambir Singh in Thiruvananthapuram in 2015. Amlan, who has been in good form this season, stopped the clock at 10.28s, two-hundredths of a second outside the national record held by Amiya Kumar Mallick since 2016.

In the final, the 6 feet 4 inches tall Amlan clocked an impressive timing of 10.38s in his debut Games, thwarting an equally inspiring challenge from Elakiyadasan V K and Siva Kumar B – both from Tamil Nadu.

Borgohain also took this opportunity to highlight the sacrifices his family had made to help him make a career in athletics and said he was happy he could deliver.

“You see this,” he said, pointing to his arm on which he had tattooed ‘Maa’. “I was in Orissa and was thinking of my mother and simply went and got this inscribed on myself,” he revealed, confirming that he didn’t tell his mom before getting it done.

Asked how much faster he could go in the coming years, he refused to spell out his target and insisted that the sky was the limit for him. “I don’t put limits on myself. I just work hard and wherever God takes me, I go. If it comes, it comes. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter,” he said philosophically.

Clearly, the sky’s the limit for this humble man, the Fastest Man at the National Games.

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