What will it take for an Indian to run 100m under 10 seconds? – SportsUnfold

What will it take for an Indian to run 100m under 10 seconds?  SportsUnfold

What will it take for an Indian to run 100m under 10 seconds? Winnie the Pooh’s bouncing tiger could help Indian sprinters run faster. Tigger, a teddy bear friend, jumps straight-legged. Tiggers help sprinters cut milliseconds by strengthening tendons.

Credit – https://indianexpress.com/

Amlan Borgohain’s coach believes Indian sprinters bulk up. But there isn’t enough focus on sensible exercises like Tiggers.


Sprinter and hurdler coach James Hillier. Before moving to India, he worked for England Athletics. Borgohain and Jyothi Yarraji in the 100 meter hurdles broke national records after Hillier took them under his wing. Borgohain wants sub-10. Hillier is a coach who believes an Indian can dip under 10 seconds with a few tweaks.

The coach recommends reactive-strength training for Indian sprinters and hurdlers.

“Indian sprinters spend too much time in the gym getting big. They focus on pure strength. You got to be light. Creating reactive strength takes a long period. Reactive strength is how rapidly you can strike the ground using your tendons more than your muscles. 

Muscles and tendons store energy differently. Exercises for reactive strength would be like stiffness jumps. There is a little tiger in Winne the Pooh. He jumps up and down and does not bend his legs. Hillier, Athletics Director of the Reliance Foundation Athletics Programme, calls these jumps Tiggers.

The coach uses another animal to emphasize tendons. A real tiger, not a cartoon.

“A kangaroo has got incredibly thin legs which are pure tendons. But it is fast and springy. Developing tendon strength takes longer. You can get quick improvements in the gym, and maybe you can run a little faster. But ultimately, it will limit you. I like longball. You have to build an athlete systematically over time. Amlan’s progress continues.

Borgohain ran 10.25 seconds in August to set a new national record. Borgohain took two and a half years to improve from 10.90 seconds to 10.25.

Hillier rattles off precise numbers.

“Obviously, it is a huge improvement. But relatively that (10.90 to 10.25) is easier than going from 10.25 to 9.99. 

Two-and-a-half years ago, he ran seven metres faster. To get him under 10 seconds, he has to go two and a half meters faster. Even though that is about a third of what he has already improved, it is harder because of the law of diminishing returns. This is where coaches, facilities and sports science gets even more important,” Hillier says.

Borgohain can run under 10 seconds.

An Indian racing the 100 meters in a sub-10 second time appears like a flight of imagination because of the lag between them and top sprinters.

The great Jesse Owens ran 10.2 seconds ninety years ago. In the late 1970s, after electronic timings were introduced, the fastest Indian was Gnanasekaran Ramaswamy (10.63 seconds). 

A decade earlier USA’s Jim Hines won the 1968 Olympic gold by clocking 9.95 seconds. Only 149 times have sprinters ran quicker than 10 seconds, a majority of them are runners of African heritage.

Sprinters closer home breaking the 10-second barrier raise hope of more Asians entering the exclusive club.

Last year, China’s Su Bingtian’s 9.83 at the Tokyo Olympics made him the fastest Asian. In 2009, when he was 20 years old, Bingtian’s personal best was 10.28 seconds. The First Asian-born sprinter to break 9.99 took six years.

Sri Lanka’s Yupun Abeykoon ran 9.96 in July, becoming the first South Asian to do so.


Kenya, known for its middle and long-distance runners, has a promising sprinter. Ferdinand Omanyala’s ninth-fastest time ever (9.77) and Commonwealth Games gold put Kenya on the marathon map.

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Borgohain wants to be the first Indian to break the barrier. Interviews of Bingtian are on his watching list. 

He’s tracked the Chinese man’s sub-10 run. People told Bingtian he couldn’t run, but he ran for 9.83 seconds. If he can accomplish it, so can we; it’s a matter of time. If I want to win a South Asian Games, I may have to break 10 seconds. It is getting harder and harder. Always shattering barriers. Borgohain believes in moving from 10.20 to 9.99; your race must be fluid and technical.

Borgohain’s strengths include the start and 40-to-100-meter segment. When the gun goes off, he’ll be consistent. “I can do 5 or 6 starts well out of 10, but I want 10.” Borgohain states, “First two stages I can be stronger and powerful.”

Before Borgohain, Amiya Kumar Mallick was the quickest man. Sprint entries at national events are capped, even if athletes pay to compete. There are good sprinters. But there needs to be a consistent belief in sprinters,” Mallick says.


Mallick says specialist coaches, sprint-training equipment, and foreign exposure tours are needed.

Many Indian sprinters have clocked 10.30 after I broke the record six years ago. A researcher must coach the fastest man. I need a coach to tell me why my hand should move in a particular way. We’ve had Ukrainian and Russian coaches. Mallick says we need coaches from countries with faster runners to teach our athletes sprint techniques.

Indian sprinters need better instructors to race quicker. Young coaches in India can’t read the books Hillier read.

“Many Indian athletes run 10.3 miles.” The coaches are good, but they can’t take anyone further. Perhaps they lack training facilities. Top sprinters in India tell me they live an hour from the track and facilities are poor. 

To run under 10 seconds requires world-class facilities. Su Bingtian trained at the amazing Shanghai Olympic Training Centre. Randy Huntington was perfect. All his weightlifting equipment was imported from the US.

Mallick used timing gates in Jamaica in 2014 to record accurate speed. He said Indian sprinters are utilising them in training. Malick pulls out his hair looking for spikes.

“If you order from the US, you pay $120 for the shoes, $120 for courier and customs charge. I requested Commonwealth Games athletes to bring me a few pairs. Or I ask IT friends overseas for a pair. You can’t order like in India. “If getting spikes is hard, you can’t run under 10,” says Mallick.

Former 100-meter champion and AFI president Adille Sumariwalla says Indians can clock 10 seconds.

The AFI struggles to nurture a pool. Borgohain trains in Bhubaneshwar with hurdlers, including national record holder Jyothi Yarraji.

“Bhubaneshwar has sprints. World Athletics and the high-performance center inked an MOU with the AFI. Sprinters refuse national camps.

They can be dope-tested in camps. Sprinters are the most common dopers in India. If we can discover four to five young sprinters who regularly clock 10.30 or below and are ready for the national camp, the AFI would send them abroad for training and exposure, adds Sumariwalla.

The men’s 4100 relay team won a bronze medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Suresh Satya later failed a drug test.

Post-2010 CWG, sprinters, become camp shy. “Almost all of the bronze-medal-winning 4100 men’s relay squad vanished.” The relay team couldn’t match the best times. They joined the camp. Ukrainian sprinter coach. Few did, Sumariwalla recalls.


Hillier advises sprinters to compete abroad after training together. Su Bingtian and Abeykoon battle against the top athletes internationally. They are pounded over there. Bingtiang was 5th or 6th in the Diamond League. But you must go elsewhere to observe the level.”

Hillier talks about the “belief mechanism” that motivates sprinters.

“Mallick’s record has been living on borrowed time. Amlan’s success will inspire others to try. I would love nothing more than other athletes to run 10.2 because I know it will make Amlan also run faster.”

Borgohain is inspired by a field event, the javelin throw, and India’s star athlete Neeraj Chopra.

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