What do you make out of a 24 year old youngster’s identification with a definite anime character and also the fact that his ‘forte’ lies in the field of being lazy- something supposedly characteristic of the generation with which he fosters yet another strand of identity? Definitely not anything related to physical exertion of the body and certainly not to such extents that makes him the ultimate national champion in that very mode of toil and hardwork and effort, in as bodily assertions as possible. And yet, Assam lad Amlan Borgohain incorporates within his person all aspects of such duality to bring upon himself that distinction of being the country’s current fastest man that does not live up quite to his self proclaimed expression as a lazy guy.
In fact, so essential is ‘laziness’ a facet of Borgohain’s nature that even the sprinter identity through which he has availed of all the applause and fame and recognition and success marking his still blooming career happened to be a choice fostered in- or rather out of that very lazy disposition. Pursuing his first love for football since his even younger days and shining in it as well to covet for himself a chance at playing the nationals at the junior level before losing out to the unfortunate fate of multiple injuries has been this accidental almost short distance runner whose athletic background and as athletic physique led him to chart out other avenues along the same sphere of the sports. And sprinting it was that occurred to him as the option in most convenience of allowing him to enjoy the luxury of his lazy nature, in it being a run for ‘an event that would get over quickly.’
To believe that someone of such callousness in their approach to a sport that they now compete in professionally would ever allow for such scope in the ultimate glory would be but a theory hard to comprehend and harder perhaps even to accord them with in all dignity but call it a feat of destiny or attribute it instead to his quirky mode in communicating his own dynamic being and Amlan Borgohain sure has managed to give even the best sprinters of the country a literal run for their
Hailing from the Meleng village in Jorhat district of the north eastern state of Assam, Amlan today dwells in a distinction of being the reigning record holder at the national level in both the 200m and the 100m categories. But what makes the celebration of such achievements even the more spectacular is the short span of time in which he has managed to claim these dual records for himself. It had been only as recently as in 2019 that Borgohain caught the attention of his current coach James Hillier who then took it upon himself to mentor the young talent at the Reliance Foundation Odisha High Performance Centre. A couple of years down the line and the still a football fanatic Amlan has already emerged to be the sprint sensation of the country in resounding runs of the distances.
It had been as early as in September 2021 that the timing of 20.75 seconds that he set led Borgohain to be the 200m champion in his very first final race in that category at the senior national level. Roughly some six months after this gold medal clinching performance at the National Open Championships, the young lad had embarked on the record breaking and record setting spree to take the country by storm. At the 2022 National Federation Cup Senior Athletics held in April, a clocking of 20.52 seconds meant that the existing 20.63 mark was well surpassed even as a 10.25 seconds ticking of time on the clock during the 100 meters race at the All India Inter Railways Athletics Championships in August the same year ensured that a 6 year old record would be bettered if only by just a second by this remarkable phenomenon that the Assamese youngster has come to be.
For someone who charted out for himself a calling in athletics only in 2015, it’s commendable indeed the range of what Borgohain has achieved in this short span of time. Forever fawning over football greats Cristiano Ronaldo and Sunil Chhetri, the potential that coach Hillian spotted in him led an otherwise lazy Amlan Borgohain to absolutely shed his reservations about strenuous work as well as discipline himself also in terms of both fitness workout and clean eating. As dedicated to his present day reality as a runner as what he had been in pursuing his dream choice of kicking the ball around is this maverick of an athlete who is as quick in also continuously setting lofty goals for himself to achieve. Thus merely a few days after shattering the 100 m national records, Borgohain had already brought upon himself the challenge in breaking the 10 second barrier. That speaks a lot indeed of the seriousness in which he has lend himself to this sport which might have been more a coursing in chance but that which Borgohain encompasses as part of the dream he lives every single moment of his life.
This however isn’t anything new for Amlan, this passion to constantly better himself so as to be the best among them all since he has always borne a certain dislike in being beaten ever. And that is one trait of his character heavily influenced by his idol Ronaldo and manifested in such extent that in fact can be said to mark the true advent of his sprinting career. It was during his very first race when he ended up being only the runner’s up that Borgohain vowed upon his self respect to not ever having to endure ever the ignominy of defeat. And yet, despite all his ambition in being nothing but the absolute best, Borgohain comes across as a sportsman rather matured in his conscience.
The son of a retired army officer and currently the sole earning member in a family of four, but resilient still in his pursuit of something that while might not be passionate is significant nonetheless, is this laidback in his words but stern in his deeds athlete who works his way towards greater goals by overcoming first the smaller challenges and hurdles with distinction. And it has been such allroundedness of his character that helped Amlan impress coach Hillier in both his physical built as well as his mental makeup.
Curious and competitive, positive and pushing of himself while still goofy and energetic indeed even in his assuming position outside the tracks is this very focussed athlete who surprisingly also possesses a calmness more characteristic of seasoned players. For the national star in particular, this is a very poignant presentation of his stature since he is yet to go international as far as his career is concerned. But for all his limited exposure and late beginnings, Amlan Borgohain still resides in a certain charismatic arrogance that is not intimidating at the very least. Instead speaking of a confidence that accrues only through an immense acquiring of experience is this very innate trait of Borgohain’s identity that which has cut across the differentials of the football ground and the racing track to project as a flair of his person translating indeed to his unmissable presence in every sphere of his being.
Outside the glare that follows him throughout the short and shorter duration of his sprints, Amlan loves still to kick around the ball even when it is within the confines of his room. Equally fanatic in his dedication to both Ronaldo and Chhetri, both of whom he idolises and imbibes virtues of them into his own, acquiring from the Portuguese star that zeal to come out at the top and looking up to the Indian captain in his dealing with all struggles, football will continue to hold a special significance in the athlete’s life as his very first love. And yet his penchant for winning is not something that Amlan owes solely to his role model whom he does indeed emulate. Equally stirring of the youngster’s appetite for supreme success is the anime character Goku of the Japanese classic Dragon Ball Z of which he has been as ardent a fan since childhood.
From taking inspiration from human footballers and anime characters alike to wanting to inspire young guns of the north eastern region to excel in athletics or even aspiring to set the bar for other athletes to beat so as to eventually produce Olympic medal winners and script global history, this young gun himself of so many fancies has come a long way indeed. But that perhaps is only a natural coming full circle of life for India’s fastest man at a very young age indeed, having called different parts of the country from Assam to Delhi to Hyderabad his home at different points of time in life. No less any learning experience has it been for Amlan in having to forego football and find acceptance in athletics instead- a decision that while might not have been the most easiest for him to make is still something that manages to make him happy enough to prod himself on to achieve greater glory in that sphere of what conjures up his current and very prominent identity. Very much a work in progress, but one that is delightful indeed in the measure of growing by leaps and bounds, it would not be any exaggeration to proclaim Amlan Borgohain in all absoluteness as the rising star that India will be excitedly looking out for in the many years to come.