After a silver at the Asian Rowing Championship – the latest addition to the many feathers in his cap, this 20-year-old has set his sights on greater glory
For a sport dominated by personnel from the Services, 20-year-old local boy Mohammed Ahmed has managed to surprise, and delight all. He is now virtually the non-playing captain of the coxed eights Indian rowing team.
His recent silver in the Asian Rowing Championship in China shone bright in his smile as he returned to the Hussainsagar on Tuesday.
The son of Mohammed Ismail, a meat-seller from Kavadiguda, Ahmed took to the sport after one of his routine trips to the lake along with his father three years ago. Dronacharya Ismail Baig suggested the boy take up rowing. What ensued was rowing’s gain.
Ahmed won gold in the Kolkata Senior Nationals in the coxed four event, bronze in the Hyderabad Nationals in the coxed eight team and later a silver in the Asian championship later on in Korea. All these vindicated the faith shown by Baig, the untiring coach who has been shaping the destiny of most rowers in Hyderabad for close to 13 years now.
“I am enjoying every moment. Thanks to Ismail sir, I can now dream big,” the shy youngster says, even as he proudly displays his medal to his famed coach.
What exactly is this young rower’s role in a coxed eights event?
“Well, he is like a guide, telling the teammates when to accelerate in the course, how the conditions are at a given time. Otherwise, the rowers will be busy unleashing their power to keep up the pace. It is a very demanding job. Though he doesn’t row, it requires high levels of focus,” Mr. Baig says.
Ahmed, who adores cricketer Virat Kohli (he even tries to sport a similar hairstyle), plays cricket and badminton to relax after hard work in the waters. A student of St. Antony’s High School, this shy rower was only recently drafted into the CRPF, and will be reporting for duty next week.
“My next big target is to win a medal in the next year’s Asian Games and then think about the Olympics. I owe everything to my coach sir and to the Federation officials for backing me up,” Ahmed signs off.