Two-time Olympian Mohammad Anas will run the 400m race at his third consecutive Paris Olympics

Two-time Olympian Mohammad Anas Yahiya, one of India’s best 400m runners, is set to compete in the Olympic Games for the third consecutive time. His medal claim is considered strong considering his past performance. Mohammad Anas has shone in running events across Asia. He is one of India’s brightest stars on the track. India’s national record holder in 400m, he has won medals in Asian Games, Asian Championships. Apart from this, he is only the third Indian quarter-miler to participate in the Olympics after KM Binu and Milkha Singh, he achieved this in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Mohammed Anas was born in Neelam village in Kerala and it was not surprising that he took up athletics as a career. His father Yahiya is a state-level athlete and Anas got interested in the sport after watching Jamaican legend Usain Bolt run on the Beijing track at the 2008 Olympics. Anas joined the local sports club and soon became known as the fastest runner in the village. Anas’ mentor then felt that the player could perform well in the long jump event. The youngster soon became the champion of the school’s long jump championship, but when the coach in higher secondary school suggested him to return to the track again, his decision soon proved to be profitable for him and he started winning medals at the district and state level.

When he won gold in the 400m event at the Junior National Championships in 2012, he got a chance to join college where coaches from Kerala’s Elite Sports Centre were training him. Apart from this, in the 2015 National Games, he won silver in the 4x400m relay for Kerala, after which he got a call from the Indian Navy for a job. In the 2016 Senior National Games, Anas won a silver medal in the 400m in his very first attempt. That year, the player broke the 46-second barrier for the first time in the Indian Grand Prix and the Federation Cup. At the Polish Athletes’ Championship, Anas set a new national record by completing the 400m race in just 45.40 seconds. Then he booked a ticket to the Rio Olympics with an effort of 45.40 seconds in the final. In this way, he broke the national record twice in three days.

Apart from this, he was also a part of the national record-breaking 4x400m relay team, which represented the country in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Mohammad Anas may not have performed well in the Rio Olympics, but during that time he got a chance to meet his childhood inspiration Usain Bolt. In an interview, Anas said, “The inspiration received during the event was amazing. During that time I got a chance to meet many international athletes including Usain Bolt. The experience and confidence gained from international competitions is fantastic. By participating in this event, my whole attitude towards the sport changed with that performance.” The Indian sprinter performed brilliantly in 2018 and won two silver and one gold medal in the Asian Games. Won gold in the mixed 4x400m relay, where he jointly set a national record of 3:15.71 seconds in this event with Hima Das, MR Poovamma and Arokia Rajiv.

Later that year, he won three silver medals at the Asian Games and became the first Indian athlete after Milkha Singh to win a bronze at the Commonwealth Games. Apart from this, he once again set a new record in the 400 meters race. After this, Mohammad Anas has broken the national record of 400 meters twice. His current record is 45.21 seconds. For his achievements, the Indian government honored him with the Arjuna Award in the year 2019. After the break due to COVID-19, Mohammad Anas returned to the track to help the men’s 4×400 meters relay team secure a place at Tokyo 2020. However, no team could advance beyond the heats in Tokyo. But Mohammad Anas returned with a memorable experience and record. The Asian record was broken again by Japan at the 2022 World Championships in Eugene with a timing of 2:59.51, but a year later at the same championships in Budapest, Anas along with Amoj Jacob, Muhammad Ajmal and Rajesh Ramesh reclaimed the record with a timing of 2:59:05 during the heat race. The same Indian quartet won the gold medal at the Asian Games 2023 in Hangzhou, recording a timing of 3:01.58.

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