No fun in the run

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When a young athlete wanted to protest against sports authorities, he ran – a 100 Km run. Umer Beigh meets the marathon runner who wanted to make a career in sports.

Coming from a lower middle class back ground, marathon runner Tanveer Hussain, has won many local competitions in the last seven years. The 18-year-old became the first one from the state to successfully attempt a 100-kilometre run. He ran from Srinagar to Pahalgam.

Tanvir calls it a “protest run”.

“I did the 100-km run to protest against the government and sports authorities who pay least attention to players like me,” says Tanvir.

He admits that with time his enthusiasm and energy will wane and he won’t be able to perform well and maintain his “position”. “This sport should not be ignored. My attempt (of running 100 km) would remain alive and young people who want to become athletes will remember in them that someone before them has worked hard,” he says.

There is not a single street in the city where he hasn’t run. While preparing for a 10 km race he run 35- 40km, he says, to make sure he gives his best. “It was my father’s dream to see me at this position. But alas that couldn’t happen as he passed away some five years ago leaving us in hard times,” he laments.

During that time, Tanveer was in Jammu for selections trials for national level. Perhaps best chance he ever got during his school days. “I was about to perform there but I received a phone call through which I learned about my father’s death,” he says.

He left the camp to return home. “Since then lot of responsibility came on me,” he says.

Eleven years ago, he recalls, he ran alongside some renowned athletes at Badamwari including Riyaz Ahmad alias Tiger. “It was the first time I ran in a sort of an informal competition. Later I became interested in sports and started to take part in such activities,” says Tanvir.

His sporting career began with Rope Skipping when he was in class 6th. He went to Delhi, Jharkhand, and Punjab to participate in national championships where he won silver and bronze medals. “Then I realised there was not much to do in rope skipping so I became a marathon runner.”

Without any training or help from a coach he has won many competitions. remained side by side to the best players of his game even he succeed in beating them. “It was my career best performance when I defeated Riyaz. He is the top player of Jammu and Kashmir Police,” he says.

In last three years, Tanveer has won almost every major marathon race held in Kashmir. Out of the last eight races he participated in, he won six and other two he was a runner up and second runner up.

“If I would have received any support or facilities from the state. I would have definitely made it up to national level. I need an opportunity to perform outside the state in different competitions where I can show my talent and potential,” he points out.

Tanvir is popular in his locality and has received a lot of media attention but it has brought along some embarrassing questions. “Many people think, I am some international player. I have to explain, almost plead, that haven’t even played at state level,” he says.

Tanveer aspired to take this game as career but “apathy of State Sports Council, and Youth Services and Sports” made him to give up the idea. “I was wrong to pursue career in athletics that has got no scope here despite being a tough sports. It is ironical that a few little known games are promoted while major games are ignored,” he laments.

The 100-km protest run, he says, was to leave a mark and attract the attention of the state’s sports authorities towards sports like athletics. “I am happy and can say it proudly that many of my friends and other young boys in my locality are following my path. I have become an inspiration to them. But I worry once they will come to know about my failure what will they think of the sport (athletics),” says Tanvir.

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