As cricket stars Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajnkya Rahane and Wasim Jaffer along with well-known sports personalities, associated with Indian Oil, interacted with the media during a meet and greet session, athlete Amiya Mallick, who was largely ignored, watched silently.
Finally, when Mallick was asked to say something about himself and where his career stands at the moment, Mallick’s reply came like a thunderbolt. “I am preparing for Asian Games and Commonwealth Games in 2014. And I will be training with Usain Bolt’s coach Glenn Mills in Jamaica next four months,” he said. And suddenly from being reduced to a bystander, he was the talk of the conference room, leaving behind the Pujaras, Rahanes, Jaffers and Kashyaps.
Everybody wanted a piece of this 21-year-old 100 & 200 metre runner from Bhubaneshwar. Till Monday evening, he was attending calls regarding his stint with Bolt’s coach. Mallick told dna he was shocked with the reaction and didn’t expect it.
“I am happy but shocked. As soon as I talked about Bolt’s coach, the scene changed suddenly and the whole attention was on me. But still I need to earn all this attention only through my performances,” said Mallick.
“I am very excited. I have been trying to join Mills’s club since 2011 so that I could train and qualify for 2012 Olympics, but then I could not. I also got injured during that time,” he added.
Mallick said he would like to make full use of the opportunity. “Once I reach there, they would look to work on my strengths and weaknesses. I will work on my legs and concentrate on running. We will work according to a plan and ensure that I don’t waste this chance that I have got after a long time.”
Asked how he got himself associated with the legendary coach. “It was not easy. It is not that any random person can make it there. You have to be a professional and with some credibility. You need to have national championships under your belt. I had applied a few years back and now I have got this chance, with the help of Odisha Olympics Association. It is not just four months, but I will continue training with them for some more time,” he said.
Mallick said his focus will be to improve his timings. Right now his best is 21.22sec in 200m and 10.5sec in 100m. “I want to better them. But my focus right now is the 200m and I have to improve that,” said Mallick, who got into athletics at the age of 14.
Does he dream of becoming like the legendary Bolt? “That man is completely at a different level and is a natural athlete. Mine is a slow process. I have to take one step at a time. I will pick up gradually by working on my running,” he said.
Mallick, however, joked that he and Bolt have something in common now. “Bolt was trained by Glenn Mills, I, too, would be trained by him. Bolt got injured when he began his career, so was I,” he said with a chuckle.