Founder and Head Coach of Aspire Athletics Academy, Mohamed Azarudeen is also the current Junior National record holder in 800m.
At a very young age he began his career as a coach and is the youngest middle and long distance coach in Indian Athletics. He has trained 1st ever athlete to qualify for 3rd Youth Summer Olympics in Middle distance.
Do read this interview and know this story which has struggles, hard work and a great amount of success.
How did you start as an athlete?
I was in 9th Std when I started my career; it was way back in 2009. Actually I started way back in 2003, but it was in 2009 that I received a proper coach. In 2010-11 I won consecutive Junior State and National Medals. I used to participate in 400m event, but in 2012 I won a Gold Medal in 800m in the University Games and that’s when I shifted my focus to 800m event. I also built my endurance accordingly.
How did you turn towards coaching?
In 2017, I turned towards coaching completely. The main reason was my financial conditions. I couldn’t afford training at that time and I even faced injuries. Due to that I also felt that I was a little bit behind the other athletes in the overall progress.
During this time, I met Sreekiran and his work ethic and dedication inspired me a lot. I also went through various books and guides which helped me a lot to increase my knowledge. I had started giving fitness training to Sreekiran that time and thus I completely turned towards coaching.
I saw some real potential in Sreekiran and the thought of really helping him emerged, I wouldn’t say that I actually wanted to coach him, but yes, helping him in his athletics career was my aim.
Sreekiran was your first student. How will you describe your bond with him?
More than a student coach relation, we are more like brothers. I have a younger brother who is the same age as Sreekiran. I tried to think with the same mentality he would have. Having a brother helped me understand Sreekiran more.
I basically explained to him that he has a bright career and sacrificing some things right now will definitely pay off later. No efforts go in vain. He gives me a lot of respect and understands all the instructions I give him as a coach.
You are a certified coach and you have the coaching licenses from the Athletics Federation. How that process is and what kind of difficulties you faced while completing those courses?
People used to ask me about the certification I had and didn’t focus on what talent I showcased. They stressed more on the paper qualification than the actual results.
I believed in myself that I have the potential to even complete the certificate course. So in October 2018, I gave the exam and I scored 4/4 in it and topped the exam.
Now along with the successful results, I have a certificate to show the people who point out at me.
I have also been selected for the further certificate courses and I am always ready to learn.
How does it feel to represent you as the coach of International medal winners?
It is really a great feeling. Representing the nation and carrying the Indian National Flag on your shoulder is absolutely amazing. You get to carry the National Flag only in 2 situations; one if you are a soldier and you are martyred and another is if you are a sportsperson and you win a medal.
The feeling of carrying the Indian Flag is beyond explanation. Unfortunately I couldn’t do it but the person I trained is able to do it. Just imagine how proud I must be!
I really feel amazing as I could produce athletes who have won medals for India.
How many athletes have you trained till now and who was your favourite among them?
I have trained 15 athletes till now. Currently I am focusing on 10 athletes. I have started training them since they were young and starting at a young age somehow benefits them as players.
My favourite is definitely Sreekiran. The 1st taste you experience when you are hungry is always the best. So my experiences with him and the success he got have made me extremely happy.
My 1st success as a coach was brought to me by him so I would pick Sreekiran as my favourite.
What are the difficulties you face as a coach?
As a coach I am always trying to improve. The main problem I think that occurs is of facilities and the venues. I have to travel 18km every day for training. There should be good facilities available where athletes can train. There is a synthetic track in my area but it is not open for practise due to some issues.
We have to make a lot of adjustments for training and it is really difficult out here. Sponsorship issues also trouble me a lot.
Federation doesn’t help me in particular. If my students succeed, they would help the player, but not the coach. However federation and Government help a lot in certificate courses and they are really good at it.
You are extremely active on social media. Your posts are always informative and related to developing the sport. What are your thoughts about it?
Social media helps me a lot to connect to people. I get to contact many coaches around the world. I can learn a lot through the foreign coaches who are experienced and know a lot about the sport.
I get to know about various athletes and their records as well.
I also try to promote the sport and make sure that everyone gets the knowledge about the sport. My society should grow from all means. I think I should even upgrade myself with the way I should use it. There are many more features which will help me promote my training features and enhance the game. I will try to reach the maximum people possible.
What are your next targets as a coach?
My next target is the next year’s Asian Junior Championships and I also keep the 2022 Youth Olympics in front of me.
My main aim and my dream is to set up a high altitude training centre which will have recognition as a good academy with decent facilities. Currently I have my own academy and I am its director and founder as well as the Head Coach.
With more and more improvements, I want to make a really good training centre and a well-equipped ground.
What is your message to the youth?
Trust your coach. Try to understand what he teaches you and he will always try to make you a successful player. He has some plans and schedules he has decided for you, and he is going to function accordingly.
Respect your coach, trust him and you are assured of success. If you don’t trust and respect your coach, you won’t be able to give your best performance.
A young coach like Mohamed Azarudeen has so much potential and his talent is helping a lot of young athletes to transform their career. We salute such young and dedicated coaches who are ready to give their everything just for the development of athletes!