Muhammed Anas wants to make Olympics on his own

Having made the cut with his compatriots in the 4x400m mixed relay, the Indian quarter-miler is eyeing qualification in the individual event.

Indian quarter-miler Muhammed Anas believes that he will be better prepared for the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year.

Having made his Olympic debut at Rio 2016 - competing in 400m and the men’s 4x400m relay - the Indian international is keen to build on the experience heading into the Tokyo Games.

“It will be my second Olympics. I have a better understanding of things now. So I will be better prepared when it comes,” the 25-year-old told New Indian Express in a recent interview.

“Olympics is the biggest stage. Performing there is the dream of every athlete, and it is no different for me. I have been working towards putting my best foot forward. I can’t wait.”

The 25-year-old was a part of the 4x400m mixed relay team that made the cut for Tokyo 2020 with a spirited performance at the 2019 World Athletics Championships.

But despite the sense of assurance that the qualification gives, Muhammed Anas said that he was focused on qualifying in the individual event as well.

“It’s good to have qualified for the relay. But I am fully focused on 400m. Both are equally important. I can’t rest until I qualify. So I’m eagerly looking forward to when Olympic qualifiers start again,” he stressed. 

Keen to stay fit

The Kerala athlete, currently in the National Institute of Sports (NIS) in Patiala, has been restricted to being at the centre for some time now given the nationwide lockdown in India in the wake of COVID-19.

But with coach Galina Bukharina available, Anas’ preparations are not really off-track. “No doubt, the lockdown has been hard on athletes,” Anas opined.  

“But since I’m at this centre, I’m able to do all the necessary workouts. The coach has asked me to make sure I maintain my fitness. That keeps me motivated.

“Knowing that we may start competing in a few months is also a good motivation. But to gain full fitness, we’ll need between one to two months.”

The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has announced a compact calendar for the year with meets starting on September 12. And the Asian Games medallist is among those who are eagerly looking forward to some competition after an extending period of a lull so far.

“Everyone is anxiously awaiting for things to restart. It’s been a long wait. As athletes, we love competing. That’s what we do best. So it will be great to be able to do that again,” he concluded.

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