BHUBANESWAR: Amiya Kumar Mallick is without a coach or physio, let alone a masseur for the last three years. Yet, he is the fastest man of India.
Many athletes in India want government jobs and rightly so, given the uncertain lifestyle a career in sports offers but the 24-year-old is without one. He was given a job with a State PSU along with fellow sprinters Dutee Chand and Srabani Nanda but he is yet to join.
“I run with one target - to bag a 10-second timing in 100-meter run. I have four to five years in my hand to achieve that. That is my goal,” he says.
The government job can wait for the man who clocked 10.26 sec at the Senior Nationals meet last year at Delhi but missed qualification to Rio Olympics by 0.10 seconds. But that made Amiya the fastest sprinter of the country who is now eyeing a medal at the 22nd Asian Athletics Championships here.
Three years back, when Sports Department coach Nilamadhav Deo took VRS from service, Amiya lost his guru. “I missed him a lot in my practice. But he is always there to advise me over phone. Whenever me meet, he is full of tips,” he says.
It was Deo who first found the spark in Amiya in a DAV School meet several years back. He told Amiya’s father that the boy had all it takes to be a good athlete. The journey then began.
However, what changed his life was a chance visit to the house of Sk Guljar, legendary athlete of Odisha. Guljar had participated in the 1st Asian Games in 1951 in the 10,000 metre race and finished fifth. Amiya was in Class VI and happened to visit Guljar’s house in Jadupur, a locality on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar. “I will never forget that day in my life. His was a mud-thatched house and he was in the last stage of life. I could not talk to him since he was not responding at all,” he recalls.
The young guy was looking for medals in Guljar’s house without anyone’s knowledge when he saw a red colour blazer hanging from the wall. “It was in no condition to be worn but bore the symbol that he represented India in the Asian Games,” Amiya said.
The same day, he told his father that he wanted to represent India in athletic events. “That day, I had met a person who gave so many things to the country but none was with him in the last parts of his life. He only had his memories,” an emotional Amiya reminisced.
He made his mark in the 2006 Junior Asian Meet at Colombo by bagging a silver in the 100 metre. Two years later at Youth Commonwealth Games, he took a bronze in 200 metre. In 2015, he was part of the relay team that took the gold in 4x100 m at an Olympic qualification open event at Almaty in Kazakhstan.
Today, he is the fastest Indian. Despite an injury in 2011, he did not give up.“The doctor told him that he can not match his previous timings and that was the most disappointing day of his life but he was soon back on the track,” his father Arakhita says.
Like most Indian parents, Arakhita wanted his son to become a doctor or engineer but the ward’s interest towards sports changed the family’s decision. Amiya also told Mallick Senior not to expect anything from anybody.“Many believe I am born with a silver spoon but it is not true,” says the sprinter who lives in a one-bedroom house at Chandrasekharpur in the City.