15-year-old aims higher than gold
Even a thigh injury couldn't stop St Lawrence High School's (Kandivli) Anil Sahoo from winning three gold medals (high jump, long jump and javelin throw) in the Mumbai Schools Sports Association-Mumbai Indians inter-school athletics meet at Goregaon Sports Club yesterday.
However, the 15-year-old athlete isn’t satisfied with his performance and aims to create a new meet record of 2m in high jump at the amateur athletics national to be held in Itawa (Madhya Pradesh) from 29 January to 2 February.
Anil created a new meet record in the U-16 high jump when he jumped 1.77m, breaking the earlier record of 1.76m, set by Hardik Shah (Children’s Academy) last year. Anil jumped 6.39m in long jump, narrowly missing the meet record of 6.40m currently held by Clement Augustine of St Francis D’Assisi (Borivli) in 1998. In the javelin throw, he threw a distance of 38.80m to win gold.
“I am not at all satisfied with my performance at this meet. I am capable of doing much better. I created an U-14 national record in high jump by clearing 1.85m last year. I didn’t participate in this tournament with the aim of simply winning. If not for my thigh injury, I could’ve broken more records,” said the Kandivli resident.
Post the event, Anil plans to take two weeks off before he starts training for the nationals. “My aim this year is to cross the 2m mark in the high jump. For that, I need to give ample rest to my body. I am off athletics for a week or two before I resume practice. I am confident of achieving the 2m mark at Itawa nationals,” said Anil whose idol is his 80-year-old coach Paul D’Cruz.
Anil, the son of a small-time saree merchant, wants to fulfill his father’s dream of being an Indian Armed Forces personnel. “My father runs a small saree shop in Kandivli, but he has never asked me to sit at the shop. He has always encouraged me to do well in the field of my choice. I want to fulfill my father’s dream of joining the Indian Army and pursue my sporting dreams,” Anil said.