When I wanted to be Milkha Singh

Why doesn`t Mexico have an Olympic team?
Because all Mexicans who can run, jump, or swim are in US of A.

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Rekha and I are half way through Iqbal – the Nagesh Kuknoor movie. And I would say it is a must watch. Especially, if like me you are also a sportsman. Believe me, I am a junior Nationals kabaddi player.

I had tears in my eyes every time deaf-mute Shreyas Talpade – a village teenager yearning to be a part of the Indian cricket team – was on the screen. He so much resembled me when I was in my first year of college. Back then, I wanted to become the greatest athlete India had ever produced. Then I didn`t have the benefit of having glamourous role models like Sania Mirza. I had to content with PT Usha and Milkha Singh.

Had it not been for a small measurement error I would have been a great athlete. When I was in class five I didn`t even know how long one meter was, but I was given a list of race distances and asked to choose my event for the annual sports day.

I asked a friend, how much was 50 meters.

“50 meters? That`s quite a distance,” he said.

“How far would I have to run if I opted for the 50m dash?”

“You must be one meter tall. Why don`t you lie down 50 times head-to-toe and measure the distance you cover – that`s the distance you will have to run.” My friend was very emphatic in his reply and I had this feeling that he knew his distances.

I immediately ran outside and did as recommended. It was quite an ordeal. After half an hour of measuring, my white shirt and blue trousers were all soiled…but I had found out that I could run 50m.

I wonder why my class teacher – who was also my English teacher – asked me to stand outside the class. I knew I was outstanding in English, but did it mean I had to stand out?

I wouldn`t know…but by the time I was let in by my teacher…many had nominated themselves for the shorter distance and the 1500m race was my only option. Mind you that is, a kilometer and half.

I immeidately went back to my guru – the same boy who asked me to roll in the mud and measure the distance – and asked him how long would 1500m be.

“Not much. Instead of lying down 50 times head-to-toe and measuring the distance… do it 1500 times!”

Ever since, I have been a sports freak. Here are some of the sport I am cynical about.

Formula One: I watched it till I realized they were all a bunch of non-punctual drivers. If only they started early they needn`t risk their lives going so fast.

Boxing: If they have decided to kick the shit out of each other…why do they even need any rules. And anyways whats the idea of calling it a boxing ring if it is a square!

Golf: It is a uniqe game. If I wanted to play it..my father should have started the warm up – which would have included earning enough for me to join a Golf Course.

Football: In India, doctors treating heart-patients suggest them that they follow Indian football for their own good. No excitement.

Swimming: It is not a difficult sport. But more than half the World doesn`t know to swim. Perhaps that is why Ian Thorpe`s father threw him in the lake – a hard way of teaching swimming. Thorpe struggled to swim out of the lake…but the harder part was getting out of the sack!

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