JAIPUR: Eighteen-year-old Soyeb Aftab scripted history along with Akansha Singh by scoring a perfect 720/720 in the NEET 2020 exams as the results were declared Friday evening.
However, Akansha lost the top rank to Soyeb due to her younger age, which is one of the deciding factors in the National Testing Agency's tie-breaking policy.
Originally from Rourkela, Odisha, Soyeb was coached at a leading institute in Kota and has also become the first person from his state to top the exam.
#NEETRESULTS | From the boy made history to the student who failed last year, all #NEET toppers followed one simple mantra - hard work -to be able to pursue their dream of being doctors. Their stories#SoyebAftab@gsvasu_TNIE @PrabhuChawla @Xpress_edexhttps://t.co/P1NrbjlosJ— The New Indian Express (@NewIndianXpress) October 16, 2020
Overwhelmed with gratitude, Soyeb thanked his teachers and mother, Sultana Nazir, who was teary-eyed with joy.
It was Sultana who lived with her son in Kota for over two years as he prepared for the exams.
"There is no alternative to hard work. I just followed what my teachers told me to do but I had never thought of securing 100 percent marks. My aim was just to get selected in the exam," he said.
"Slowly as my marks increased, my expectations also increased and I could dream about achieving top-100 rank...But when you start scoring above 700, there is a lot of pressure to maintain that score but I kept my focus intact,’’ he continued.
Soyeb also added that he used the Covid lockdown to his advantage and called it a 'turning point' as he did not return to Odisha and put in 12-13 hours of study time, even as most students headed home. While the whole world has suffered a lot due to the Covid crisis, for Soyeb it proved to be a boon.
"When NEET was postponed for the second time, I took a break of 4-5 days then dedicated myself to studies," he shared.
When asked for his advice to all NEET aspirants, here's what Soyeb had to say: "Stay focused on your goals and whatever obstacles you face, encounter them bravely and find a way to use it to your advantage. That's what I did."
Soyeb’s father, Suleiman Aftab, who is in the construction business, said his son will be the first doctor in their family.
His mother Sultana Nazir is thrilled at his extraordinary feat and said, "I am proud of my son. Thanks to Allah and to my husband who stood behind us like a shadow. Thanks to Allah, my son has proved his mettle.’’
Soyeb and his family will make a thanksgiving trip to Ajmer Sharif on Saturday.
You can check your results here - http://ntaresults.nic.in