An Aspiring Athlete Yearns For Support!
Ganderbal: Every morning Nisar Dar run strides on the deserted roads of Ganderbal. He race walks 10 kms every morning on rutted hilly roads in order to increase his running speed and this is not the end of his daily practice schedule that continues till late evening at regular intervals.
Nisar sets a target on weekly basis and remains determinant that no one stops him to attain this target. He gives his best to set new standard every day and has developed a unique way of training. He climbs high steep mountains, mud runs and puts on weight-jacket to enhance his endurance level.
“My biggest competition is with myself. I am not looking to pull down others. I test my own limitations,” says Nisar.
Hailing from far-flung Arhama village in Ganderbal district, Nisar Dar, 22, is a multi-talented athlete, competent in long distance running, sprint, mountain biking and has also aced his skills in cycling. Nisar made his mark at district and state level athletic competitions, and has also competed in an international marathon; besides he has got special niche in long distance races like marathon, cross country race – 5000 and 1000 meters, both track and field.
Nisar is also good at studies, he holds a masters degree in Physical Education and has took part in number of competitions especially in long-distance racing.
Inside Nisar Dars’s room, one finds unblemished pictures of decorated trophies which speaks volumes about his accomplishments within the valley – Nisar has won numerous medals in top notch athletic competitions of the state – be it inter-college road races, sports council competitions, J&K Police competitions and other long distance running events – so far, a feather in Nisar’s cap is a bronze medal, which he has won in Kargil international marathon.
From the far-flung village of Arhama to the Kargil marathon, Nisar’s journey has been full of hurdles but he overcame these hurdles by showing grit and determination. Due to the lack of transport facility, Dar used to walk 5 kms to reach school during his childhood and this daily 10 km walk erected a bedrock for his athleticism. Years of sticking to this schedule of walking boosted his stamina.
From school competitions to the college competitions, there was no one to challenge Nisar. He has won many podium positions at various state level races. Dar has competed with top athletes of the Valley which include well known service athletes likeTanveer Ahmad, Mohammed Reyaz, Imtiyaz.
2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medalist Mohamed Mukthar Farah, a long-distance runner is a role model for Dar and he passionately follows him. “I started following him when he won gold medal at London Olympics and since then I am his admirer and hope one day I will get a chance to meet him,” said Nisar.
Nisar Dar’s ultimate dream is to compete in Olympic games but he is fully aware that the journey to Olympics is not easy. What worries him most is the lack of support and proper infrastructure.“When you live in India where sports culture is still developing both financially and morally and in such a situation it becomes very difficult to qualify for global sports events, especially the athletic events,” said Dar.
“I have literally dedicated my whole life to athletic sports, especially to long-distance running but my future seems to be bleak. Lack of sponsorship is a major concern for me. I have approached several cooperate companies and businessmen for the sponsorshipbut unfortunately nobody came forward to support me,” says Dar.
On role of financial support for athletes Dar said, “To become a successful athlete one has to practice rigorously and above all the diet plays a crucial role as every athlete needs a special diet which compliments their overall performance. An athlete requires many specialized equipments for training; they need sports gear which is very costly. An immature budding athlete can’t afford to fulfill all these requirements and sponsorship can play an important role to meet this affordability challenge. I am lacking financial support and if it persists I will not be able to increase my performance.”
“There’s lot of talent in Kashmir in every sport but the lack of support system and infrastructure is a major concern. Private corporations can contribute tremendously to the development of sports, promising athletes across the globe are being financially uplifted by the private and government sectors. European countries have excelled in sports and medal tally in the Olympics.We can also make our place in the world sports events but there has to be a robust sports policy and corporate social responsibility of private sector.”NIsar said.
While commenting on the current state of sports in India Dar said, “Unfortunately, India gives preference to only few sports which is why India is lagging behind on sports map. India doesn’t have a effective sports policy and it is unfortunate that over one billion populated country was not able to win a single gold medal in the Rio Olympics.”
Dar acknowledges support of J&K sports council, they have provided him support to some extent. Keeping in view, the limited resources of sports council Dar is not expecting much from them. He said that government should make sports administrative institutes more powerful and resourceful.
Nisar Dar suggests that there should be separate allocation of funds for athletic sports. Athletic sports is mother of all games and if we will produce good athletes they can excel in other games as well. “A dearth of coaches is also a concern .There are only few quality coaches available for various athletic sports in Kashmir, they are unable to cater to large number of immature athletes. Grass root level development is totally missing. Sheikh Tulal, an athletic coach is doing a good job but we need more coaches and they should be sent to foreign countries for specialized training as well as foreign coaches should be invited to train athletes here in Kashmir,” suggests Nisar Dar.
Despite of all the challenges and shortcomings, Dar’s resilience has not waned. He hopes that one day his dream of becoming a professional athlete will come true.