Meet Nirmit Dahiya: The 1500 metre runner trying to make it to the Asian Championship

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With Neeraj Chopra winning a Gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, the athletic fever is running high and given a big boost to the sports as a whole. As a result, investment in sports has increased. However, not everyone in athletics is happy as many up and coming athletes continue to suffer. One such athlete is 1500 metre national champion Nirmit Dahiya.

The Sports India Show had the opportunity to interview Nirmit to talk about his struggles and how is living far away from family and training hard to achieve his dreams.

What is your age and where do you come from?

I am 23 years old and I belong from Haryana. I am an athletic Runner. I Take part in 1500 meters race. 

When did you start Athletics and when do you practice and what is your nutrition? 

I started to train at a very young age in 2011 at that time I was 10-12 years old. Then I started to practice more and more and then competed at national levels where I met lots of professional athletes who helped me a lot to get better. Currently, I’m practising in Bengaluru. In Bangalore, I  practice at the stadium but currently, it’s closed so I practice on the streets. 

I won at the district level and the state level championships. I then secured second place at the nationals. I participated in my first tournament in 2012. My timings during my early career were around 4:15 and 4:20 in districts and I had 4:00 in my state tournament. Now in my recent Nationals, I had a time of 3:49. This national took place in Mangalore I secured 6th place it happed in January 2022. The guy who came first was just two seconds ahead of me. I feel with more practice I can easily defeat the champion. During this period there was a lot of disturbance in my practice sessions.

I am very confident that in the coming years I’ll be at the top as the current gold medalist are just a few seconds ahead of me which I can cover with more practice. The Indian top guys are having a timing of 3:45 and I am having the timing of 3:49 at this moment, which I feel is very good considering my age and experience in the game.

Do you think you can go to the Olympic level?

“I feel with little more training and proper coaching I can reach the Olympic level within 1 or 2 years. I think I can qualify for the international level. For the past two years, the practice hasn’t been going well due to Covi-19 lockdowns. All my nutrition and diet were done by me. I have no one’s support. All my expenses are done by me. In today’s world, diet and nutrition play a key role in athletes’ careers.”

What’s your education?

“I have done my graduation in BA and now i’ pursuing MA. I am studying and practising at the same time.”

What’s your target timing for the Olympics?

 “I am preparing to crack a particular timing the year itself. I am planning to improve during the Asian games. I shouldn’t think of Olympics at the moment as they are many other important tournaments ahead of me this year and the Olympics is in 2024. Before that o have to focus on other tournaments. 3:47 is the qualification for the Asian Games and I’m just 2 seconds away from that. Also to win a medal at the Asian games all I have to get past is 3:45.”

“In April, I’ll private in senior nationals and then Indian Nationals. If I qualify for the Indian nationals I will directly qualify for the Asians. In both of these tournaments, I will have to win the medals and improve the timings too. With a little bit more practice and support, I’ll definitely make it to the top. This is the time where I need some support because this is my best age to work hard and make it to the top.”

What do your parents do?

“My father has just retired from the Delhi Police and my mom is a housewife. My parent has been the backbone of my career. It’s because of their support I’m doing this good. They help me pay my rent, my food, my protein bills.”

What’s your thought on the sports federations of India?

“I feel the federation should support us on some levels. There are many athletes like me who need support if all of us get good support India will go ahead in sports. The Haryana Government hasn’t really supported us during the COVID-19 pandemic. Before we use to get scholarships after winning medals but nowadays we don’t even get that.”