There are enough people out there, actually, almost everyone, who is betting against you. They don’t think you can ever succeed in anything in life. But there is only one person out there who should never, ever, give up on you and that’s YOU!
My favourite ‘sports’ are all events in track and fields. I know most of you wouldn’t even count it as a sport. I agree with that too. It’s actually not. It’s a way of life. Running, throwing and jumping is something that comes to us naturally. We as humans, have done all these activities pretty much from the very beginning.
Before I carry on with story, let me first explain the layout of 400 metre race. It’s one lap of the track. The inner most lane is called lane one, and as you go out, lane numbers keep increasing. The runner on the inner most lane stands back, where as the runner in the outside most lane stands way in front. This is because there are 4 turns in one loop of the track. The inner most is the shortest distance and the outside most is the largest distance. Since finish line is the same, the different start points negate the difference distance.
Also, you need to know that 400 metres is a bloody tough distance to race as you need to sprint for 400 metres. Not 60 or 100 metres. You need to pace yourself just right. If you start too quick, you’ll burn out too soon. But if you don’t, you see all others getting ahead of you. That’s such a tough one to work with.
Currently the IAAF World Championships are on in Moscow. The spectator turnout has been pathetic. Even before the games started, yet again sprinting got all the bad publicity because of doping. But in games like this, a story emerges, where it’s not the most popular, but the unassuming human being, that is a lesson for us all as a race.
Yesterday, Christine Ohuruogu did exactly that. Over previous two days, she had comfortably come first in quarter-finals and semi-finals. On both occasions pushing Natasha Hastings of US to second position. In the finals, Natasha was in the third lane. Christine was in the fourth. As I explained above, Natasha was effectively behind Christine. It was a slow start for Christine and Natasha was quick off the blocks. She caught up with Christine in first 80 metres alone. Now, that’s such a psychological blow because Christine had beaten hands down over last two days.
By now Amantle Montsho was the clear leader who looked all set to win the gold. It was no surprise as Amantle had run the fastest 400m in the world this year in 49.33 sec. As you see in the video above, Christine didn’t seem to have a chance of even getting the bronze 100 metres from the finish. When everyone had given up on her, including you, she picked up the pace for last 50 metres. Christine made a last second dip to catch up with Amantle. It was difficult to make out who had actually won. After the finish, Christine had resigned to her fate and was simply smiling, thinking the perfectly timed dip just wasn’t enough.
Soon it was announced that Christine had actually beaten Amantle by four thousandth of a second. Christine had an official finish time of 49.404 seconds as against Amantle’s 49.408 seconds.
Now, I love talking about Christine also because she had been my patient way back in 2005-2006 in London. I don’t get star struck. But when you meet someone who is just an amazing human being, you want them to succeed more than anything else. There were other athletes from the sprint squad who I was seeing then, but none of them came close to the shy Christine.
Sports is far beyond winning and the rat race. Soon enough no one remembers who won. It’s about who you are deep inside. Christine had to dig in really deep, to give it her best, as that’s all that matters. Thanks a million miles.