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How cricket turned this Sachin into a javelin pro

With a new personal best of 82.69m at the IGP, Sachin Yadav is only getting started in the competitive space of Javelin.

How cricket turned this Sachin into a javelin pro

Armed with a new personal best, Sachin Yadav now aspires to do more. (Photo credit: The Bridge)


Rahul Kargal

Updated: 14 Jun 2024 10:50 AM GMT

Bangalore: Not very many sights at a track and field event match the visual of a javelin in flight. Glistening under the floodlights, the spear soars and then arcs dramatically before piercing the turf to come to a standstill, all whilst traversing the length of a football field.

With a slight drizzle threatening the javelin event at the Indian Grand Prix-3 on Wednesday night at the Sree Kanteera Stadium in Bangalore, the sparse crowd waited in anticipation.

A moment later, a collective gasp, followed by warm applause.

A javelin had just landed at 82.69m. And Sachin Yadav, standing at the top of his mark, looked satisfied with his throw.

After all, the effort was a new personal best. In doing so, he had relegated the much-heralded Rohit Yadav to second spot on the night.

A newcomer

Not very many would perhaps be aware of Sachin Yadav. After all, until 2019, the man was playing tennis ball cricket in a nondescript village of Khekada Tehsil in Uttar Pradesh's Baghpat district.

"I was an all-rounder. I had good pace and was an opening batter and would sometimes play 1st or 2nd down," said Yadav, in a conversation with The Bridge.

It was a village elderly that spotted the towering Yadav hurling thunderbolts with his bucket hands on the cricket pitch. Possessing natural gifts of speed and remarkable flexibility, the youngster was advised to trade the tennis ball for a javelin.

And Yadav put the advice to immediate use.

Transition and development

Onlookers might think that an outfielder in cricket displays bio-mechanics that are similar to that of a javelin exponent.

Yadav, however, explains that they are not all the same.

"Javelin is a bit more technical and it was difficult (transition from cricket). I needed to pay more attention to technique. The coach gave me extra time, worked with me and I've got this far," said Yadav, with a sense of pride.

Despite the change, the young man displayed remarkable natural ability and was competing at meets a mere two years after having first picked up a javelin.

He now trains at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) in Delhi and under the tutelage of coaches, follows a stringent regime and diet plan.

"I train all days of the week but rest after every session. Even on Sundays, I do some running," he said.

And despite occasionally treating himself to a burger or a pizza, he remains focused and has his eyes firmly set on loftier goals while drawing inspiration from the very best in the country.

'My idol is Neeraj'

"I like everything about him, flexibility, explosivity, he's good in every way," said Yadav.

When asked if there were tools that could be borrowed from the ace, the youngster was quick to reply - "If my runway, speed, smoothness, and flexibility can become like Neeraj's, it will be great."

Yadav knows that he is only getting started and has miles to go. For instance, his personal best of 82.69m on Wednesday was still a fair distance away from the Paris 2024 qualification mark of 85.50m.

That said, buoyed by his success at the Indian Grand Prix-3, Yadav will now head to Panchkula, Haryana, later this month, for the 63rd National Inter-state Senior Athletics Championships.

When asked if he could go a step further, the 24-year-old sounded optimistic, "I will try to better my personal best there. I will keep trying for Paris 2024 and will put in my full effort, I've come this far, and will surely try a bit more."

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