Radiance Sports Desk:
Two Muslim athletes from Kerala have made their community and country proud by contributing handsomely to their team’s successful entry into the final of the 4×400 meter relay at the World Athletic Championships in Budapest, Hungary. The Indian team secured fifth place with a sub-3-minute performance which is a new Asian record.
Born in Palakkad, Kerala, in 1998, Muhammad Ajmal Variyathodi emerged as a rising star in the realm of athletics, with a journey that encapsulates determination, transformation, and an unwavering pursuit of excellence. Ajmal found his true calling on the track, transforming from a football player to a formidable sprinter on the international stage. He donned the colors of his state’s U19 football team and displayed a remarkable knack for the game. However, destiny had other plans for him, and the persistent encouragement of his coaches led him down a different path.
In a bold move, Ajmal transitioned from the football pitch to the track, taking on the electrifying challenge of sprinting. Embarking on his journey as a 100m sprinter, Ajmal quickly gained notice for his raw speed and relentless work ethic. But it was his eventual decision to specialize in the 400m sprint that truly defined his career trajectory. This decision marked a turning point, propelling him into the world of track and field events where he would shine as a beacon of hope and inspiration for aspiring athletes. Ajmal’s rise was marked by a string of remarkable achievements on the national stage. He clinched the gold medal in the 400m event at the Inter-State Nationals held in Bhubaneshwar in 2023. His astonishing time of 45.51 seconds not only secured the top spot on the podium but also placed him tantalizingly close to the national record of 45.24 seconds set by his compatriot, Anas.
As he stands on the cusp of greatness, Ajmal’s relentless pursuit of breaking the 400m national record stands as a testament to his unquenchable thirst for success. His journey embodies the essence of sportsmanship and the spirit of an athlete who, against all odds, chose to redefine his destiny and chase his dreams with unwavering determination.
Another member of the relay team was Muhammad Anas Yahiya. From his early days, the spark of athleticism glimmered in his eyes. Born in 1994, in Nilamel, Kollam district, Kerala, Anas has embarked on a remarkable journey in the world of sports despite humble beginnings. Anas’ tryst with sports commenced at the Style Sports Academy in Nilamel. Initially drawn to the allure of the long jump, fate had other plans for him. It was a twist of fortune that led him to the 400-meter race, a switch that would change the course of his life. Destiny played its hand when his school team urgently needed a participant, and Anas stepped up to fill the void, marking the start of his journey in competitive running.
Anas’ upbringing was simple yet filled with dreams. Tragedy struck when his father, Yahiya, passed away due to a heart attack. This loss could have derailed his path, but with the unwavering support of his mother, he found the strength to persevere. From the age of 10, Anas exhibited a keen interest in sports. His initial foray into athletics through the long jump eventually led him to the 400-meter race, where his natural talent shone.
Despite the challenges posed by life’s circumstances, his mother’s encouragement became a guiding light that kept him on track toward his athletic aspirations. Anas’ career skyrocketed from there. He burst onto the international scene as a sprinter, representing India. In 2016, he achieved the distinction of being the third Indian to qualify for the 400-meter race at the Rio Olympics. This achievement placed him alongside the likes of legendary Indian athletes KM Binu and Milkha Singh.
Anas’ achievements extended beyond records and personal milestones. He secured medals at prestigious events like the Asian Games and Asian Championships. His determination and prowess were highlighted by his participation in the 2016 South Asian Games, where he earned his first international Gold medal as a member of the 4×400 meters men’s relay team. The years that followed were marked by consistent excellence, with Anas constantly pushing his limits. His accolades include being a multiple-time Asian champion, Asian Games winner, and Commonwealth Games participant. Anas continued to raise the bar, setting records and achieving remarkable milestones.
With his unyielding dedication and hard work, Anas transformed himself from a young boy with a passion for sports to a powerhouse of Indian athletics. His journey became an inspiration not only to aspiring athletes but also to individuals facing challenges in their lives. Anas proved that with resilience, support, and an unshakable spirit, one can overcome obstacles and emerge victorious on the global stage.