From being obese to running for 42 kilometers: The journey of Ironman Nagender Singh

first_imgThe journey began 10 years ago, in 2007, when a young man was grappling with obesity. After years of training, Nagender Singh is now a much-recognised athlete, a three-time participant of one of the most challenging triathlon races in the world, the Ironman.The 32-year-old athlete is back from the Ironman championship that was recently held in South Africa. Notwithstanding his excitement, Nagender, while speaking to India Today Online, got candid about the scenario of athletics in India.Ironman done and dustedThe Ironman is by far the most gruelling challenge, whereby the participant is expected to swim 2.4 miles (3.86 km), bike 112 miles (180.25 km) and run 26.2 miles (42.2 km). It was in 2015 that Nagender ran his first marathon. During the same year, he also became the only athlete to represent India at Ironman. This year marked his third consecutive participation at the event. When asked about his experience, he said, ”It was exceptional. Ironman turned out to be very good in terms of its arrangement. We were all very well taken care of.”Picture courtesy: Facebook/Nagender Singh But success always comes at a cost. Nagender had to go through months of strenuous preparation to achieve his goal. ”The day you do an Ironman is like a party but the training for the same is tedious. I had to train for more than 25 hours a week. I used train for 10 hours on weekends and about 2-2.5 hours on weekdays, which included swimming, riding and running.” Nagender trains at the Gurgaon-Faridabad road and occasionally at Fitness First. ” It is quite a task, especially in Delhi, given the extreme weather conditions. It takes a lot to prepare your body for such challenges. Reebok aided with a wonderfully designed sport shoe, Floatride. I really appreciate their efforts,” he said.advertisement”The athletes I came across at Ironman were much stronger andwell-trained, compared to the ones back home. And that is preciselybecause they are much better equipped with proper training, nutritionand other facilities. For example, every town in South Africa has biking or cycling tracks, something that we still lack here. Youngsters overseas are put to training at atender age of 4 or 5, whereas we start training quite late in life,” remarkedthe athlete.  Also Read:World’s 1st all-female special forces unit is a revolution that happened by chanceThe secret to good lifeOne of the prerequisites for a man to accomplish the journey from being overweight to a successful sportsman, is to maintain good health. And how does Nagender ensure that? ”I focus on quality calories. My diet majorly consists of avocados and other fruits and locally grown vegetables. Food cooked in coconut oil is always better than vegetable oil. One thing that I completely avoid is sugar.”And that is not all. Nagender is also gradually mastering the art of juggling between personal life and work. And the key to that is time management, “It is always important to give your 100 per cent in everything you do and I make sure I spend quality time. I like to prioritise things. I also wake up early, around 4:30 every morning, just to have more hours of the day to myself.”Picture courtesy: Facebook/Nagender Singh On Indian athletes getting their due exposureAre athletes in India being supplied with adequate resources? ”Not quite,” revealed Nagender, an employee of the Public Works Department (PWD). One of the videos from Ironman, doing the rounds on social media, also talks about how Indian sportsmen were not provided proper bicycles for the race. ”Most of the policies framed are just on paper. Sportsmen are often denied the facilities they require. For instance, travelling expenses for a sportsman is meant to be reimbursed. But that does not happen in reality, ” he added.What could be the explanation behind such a situation? ”Athletics is not given much of priority in our country. Firstly, there is too much politics involved. I believe the sports federation should be run by athletes and not politicians. Secondly, most of the resources are invested in promoting commercial, expensive sports like cricket.  Athletes here can achieve a lot better if various sponsorships and support from private organisations come our way. Besides, the ratio of interest in such feats, as compared to our population is much less. It is always encouraging for an athlete to get his due recognition. It would give him or her a lot of mental strength and that would definitely reflect in the performance,” expressed Nagender.advertisementlast_img

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