Former American sprinter and 2004 Olympic 100m champion Justin Gatlin has a lot of advice for both India’s upcoming professional athletes and current amateur runners participating in TCS World 10K Bengaluru 2022 on May 15, 2022. With over 20 years of experience. Legendary runner Gatlin has been praised for winning Olympic gold in the 100 meters in Athens in 2004, gold in the 100 meters at the Beijing World Championships in 2017 and gold in the 4x100m relay at the Doha World Championships in 2019.
This year, the theme of TCS World 10K Bengaluru is #ComeAlive. To be alive – you have to be more capable than you can imagine, to make something meaningful together, to have faith in yourself, to count it and to discover your inner joy. “This is the 14th year and the success of this event is here in Bengaluru. Be your biggest fan and biggest critic and have faith in yourself. Run for yourself and run for your cause. “
For Gatlin, who retired earlier this year on his 40th birthday, the journey of finding himself after his spikes stopped has been full of anticipation and panic. “Now it’s almost like a rebirth or restart for me, finding something new, a new passion in track and field sports or in sports in general.” When asked about his announcement, he labeled it “a bitter feeling” and the idea of having the great “double-edged sword” of his legacy where he knows it exists and yet it seems “normal” to him. “I wasn’t under much pressure to be the No. 1 athlete. I was able to make time for my growth and development and understand what it means to be successful. “
Gatlin is no stranger to taking a break from his career, taking a break with his two World Championship gold medals in the 100 meters, beating Usain Bolt for the second time in 2005 and 2017, 12 years apart. “[In 2017] I had to find myself when I went to that race. I just felt like – I’m going to be there, I’m going to have fun with it and I’m going to compete at a level where it’s fun for me and I can take all that pressure off. “
The pressure he refers to comes from the need to be at the top of your game, especially in individual sports like track and field, where almost everyone from your employees to your fans trust you. “As an athlete, you have to learn to develop. The habits you had at age 19 may not be the habits you had at age 29.
But the joy of running, especially a distance as short as 100 meters, is something indescribable in Gatlin’s opinion. “It’s almost like you’re in the matrix – everything slows down. Because when the gun goes off, it’s all blurry – you can hear yourself breathing, your heartbeat, the roar of the crowd. Running at such a high speed. It’s a beautiful feeling. You want to be able to copy it over and over again. “
Although this is his first visit to India, he has already attended an Indian wedding – his own. “My wife is Indian and she wanted to celebrate her legacy in our marriage. So one day we got married American and the next day, we got married Indian. His first activity in Bengaluru was to taste quality South Indian food, which he considered to be the best food he could have. “It is very tasty and delicious, from vegetables to meat; a [definite] Plus for me. “
The conversation turns to advice he may have for Indian athletes, with whom he occasionally communicates via social media. “It’s not a game when it comes to coaching or the right resources. [But] I really believe that there are Indian athletes who have the potential to be gold medal winners. They just need to be able to get there and really learn their game. “
Gatlin points out the recent success of Tokyo 2020 Javelin Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra and urges Indian track and field athletes to learn from them. “If you try to use every resource you have, you won’t feel like you’ve disappointed yourself. Don’t think because you can’t succeed where you came from. Even if you build an Olympic team, you have your heart. You put your heart and soul into it. “
The USD $ 210,000 World Athletics Elite Label Race will see some of the best distance runners in the world on the roads of Bengaluru as well as thousands of collective participation competitors from all over India.
For the first time, the event will be conducted in two formats: On-Ground and Virtual Application-Based Run.