India's sprint champion Amiya Mallick tells Harish Kotian he is confident of bettering the national 200 metres record and making it to the Commonwealth and Asian Games later this year.
Up-and-coming youngster Amiya Kumar Mallick is hoping to strike it big in the world of sprinting as he gears up to train under Olympic champion Usain Bolt’s coach.
Yes, you heard it right.
The 21-year-old from Orissa will undergo a four-month stint in Kingston, Jamaica, under the watchful eyes of Glenn Mills at the Racers Track Club.
Mills is the club's head coach and has worked with the two fastest men in the world currently -- Bolt and Yohan Blake.
“I am very excited to train under Glenn Mills for four months; he is also coaching Usain Bolt. It was a dream come true and every sprinter dreams to work under a coach who has worked with Bolt.
"Basically, it was due to the efforts of the Orissa Olympic Association and a few sponsors that this trip has been made possible,” said Mallick, on the sidelines of an event in Mumbai, where Indian Oil showcased some of its sports stars, including India’s current Test players Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, former opener Wasim Jaffer, billiards and snooker World Cup winner in 2013 Aditya Mehta, badminton stars P Kashyap, Aparna Balan, SR Arun Vishnu, and carrom World champions Yogesh Pardeshi and K Srinivas.
Asked if he would also get a chance to meet sprint sensation Bolt in Jamaica, he replied: “I don’t know if I will meet him, but I hope I can.”
Mallick said he is aiming to better his timing in the 200 metres and secure automatic qualification for the Commonwealth and Asian Games, the two big events in 2014.
“My aim is to do better in the 200 metres. When I go there I will work with the coaches to improve on the timing. I know that if I improve my time by even a fraction of a second I will qualify for the Asian Games and CWG. I am also looking to work on my fitness. I will talk to the coaches about how to improve my fitness and stamina,” he said.
Mallick has a personal best of 10.50 seconds in the 100 metres and clocks 21.22s in the 200. He is hoping to better the timings after the stint with Mills, who also coached the Jamaican Olympic athletics team between 1987 and 2009 and played a major role in the nation's rise as the sprinting superpower.
He clocked 21.22 seconds to win the gold medal in the men’s 200m at the National Open Athletics Championships in Ranchi last September. The good showing enabled him secure the elusive training stint at the Racers Track Club in Jamaica.
“After my good performances in Ranchi I sent them my results and timings after which they agreed to accept my application for the training stint. I am very excited and hope to work hard and better my performance under coach Mills and his entire team,” Mallick added.
He is hoping to better Anil Kumar Prakash's national record in the 200 metres, before eyeing a medal at the Asian Games later this year.
“If I manage to break the current Indian national record of 20.73 seconds, I am confident I will win a medal at the Asian Games too,” the youngster said.
Mallick revealed he was heartbroken on missing out on qualification for the London Olympics in 2012.
“I had a big injury in 2011 which ruled me out for nearly a year. If not for that injury I was confident of qualifying for the London Olympics,” he said.
He leaves for Jamaica on January 12 in the hope of improving his timing and making it to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July-August and Asiad in Incheon, South Korea, in September-October.