'I want to make my country proud'

'I want to make my  country proud'

From his demeanour and posture itself, one can tell that half-marathon runner BC Tilak comes from an Army background. But it was his experience in the barracks and training sessions that gave Tilak the strength, confidence and determination to always focus on the goal ahead, a quality that helped him clock a time of 30.26 and win first prize in the Indian men’s category at the Bangalore World 10K Run.

“I’m feeling really good coming here and placing first,” he says. Tilak has participated in several runs, including the ‘Mumbai Marathon’ (2011) in which he won the half marathon men’s category. He is presently training for the ‘Delhi Half Marathon’ and will try to qualify for the next Olympics. “I want to make my country proud,” states Tilak.

Recalling his time in the Army, he says, “I was in service for eight and a half years and had various postings, including at the LoC. During my training, the Army’s top athletic coach KS Mathew saw my running style and decided to make me a player in the game. I was in the Army Sports Institute, Pune, after which I started training under Dronacharya awardee Jasvinder Singh Bhatia (who coached PT Usha too). He’s a great support in my life.” Other than running, Tilak informs that he also enjoys playing games like chess and basketball.

What would he say is the secret to his success? “I just try and do my best. My target this run was not to come first but to break my own personal record of 29.59. But I lost a few seconds because of the heat and puddles. It would have been much better for the runners had the race started an hour earlier,” notes the 32-year-old.

For the runner who was born and brought up in Coorg, moving to Bangalore for his training wasn’t tough. But what he finds disappointing is the differential treatment of sportsmen in the country.

“In India, the good athletes are recognised only within the athletic community. But in IPL, for instance, even the small players are well-known. This needs to change and there needs to be an athletic federation like the BCCI exists for cricket. An interest needs to be created in this field so that more people take to it,” he wraps up.

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