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Amlan Borgohain a Natural Meant for Bigger Things in 200 Metres: Coach James Hillier

Leo Xavier |
Amlan Borgohain, who has been steadily improving his personal best in the 200 metres the past few months, won gold at the National Open Athletics meet in Warangal with a time of 20.75 seconds. The 23-year-old is work in progress, but the rate of his improvement raises hopes.
Indian sprinter Amlan Borgohain

Amlan Borgohain celebrates after winning gold at the National Open Athletics meet in Warangal, Telangana, on Sunday.

Sprinter Amlan Borgohain announced himself on the Indian stage with personal best timings en route gold in 200m event and a silver in the 100m sprint at the National Open Athletics Championships in Warangal, Telangana. The 23-year-old, who won the 200m with a time of 20.75 seconds, insists there is more to follow.  

Borgohain, who won silver in the 100m earlier clocking 10.34, came into his elements in the 200m race decimating the field. The win was extra special because he was the only one in the final who had no international experience. Borgohain is a genuine prospect if nurtured the right way, feel experts. The athlete, who had given up football to pursue athletics, is confident, though as far as his timing goes, his performance needs to improve by leaps and bounds for him to challenge the field at the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games next year.

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The sprinter from Assam is, however, already talking about the Asiad and the CWG. He seems confident, which is a good thing as the first steps in the journey have been made, the one in the mind. He seems to possess the right attitude and is brimming with confidence and feels he could have gone faster had he not committed some mistakes.

“I expected to dominate the race,” said Borgohain after his win. “My coach said you can win the race in the call room and that's what I did with my presence and confidence. I was happy with my performance but I made a few technical errors so I know I can still run much faster. Over the last few months I have made improvements in my speed endurance and my finishing speed. It is something me and my coach have been specifically working on for this competition.”

His coach, James Hillier from Britain, who is incharge of the high performance coaching centre in Bhubaneswar, was impressed in the way Borgohain “owned” the race.

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“Firstly, it was a significant improvement on his personal best and secondly the manner and confidence in which he really owned the race from start to finish was very impressive,” said Hillier. “It was fascinating to note that he was the only non-international in the race and the least experienced. However, he oozed class that made it look like he was the most experienced campaigner in the field.”

In the last 18 months Borgohain has made remarkable progress. His personal best in the 200m when he started training under Hillier was 21.89 seconds. Over the months, despite lockdown and lack of competition, Borgohain has been able to chip and bring down his PB while in training. At Warangal, that timing was improved upon too -- 21.00 seconds in the heats and 20.75 seconds in the final.

Hillier explained the areas in which he has worked on Borgohain. And, among many things, there have been technical tweaks, and also changes in the biomechanics of Borgohain’s running strides. He needs international exposure and experience next, feels the coach.

“One of the main areas we work on is ankle stiffness, a stiffer ankle allows an athlete to be more efficient with each step they take,” explained Hillier.

“He is certainly the best 200m runner in the country at the moment. I would like to take him to Europe next year to compete on the European circuit and get some more experience competing against quality foreign athletes,” added the coach.

Borgohain is natural in 200 metres, insists his coach. Borgohain, however, feels he can do well in both 100 and 200. His coach agress, while saying his natural stride and bend-running capabilities give him an advantage in 200 and that is where we can expect international medals from him. And the improvement he makes in the 100m will complement his 200m racing as well.

“I finished extremely strongly to get the silver medal and the slight disappointment of not winning knowing I could have done it spurred me on for the 200m,” said Borgohain about his 100m race at the Open Nationals.

“If he keeps getting faster over 100m, it will help his 200m,” added Hillier. “I think in the right race he can break the national record in the 100m.”

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