TURA, Feb 24: For centuries, Garo Hills had been searching for a runner who had both the stamina and energy to achieve wondrous feats. And now, a 22 year old from the little village of Tebronggre in West Garo Hills is fast turning into a marathon superstar across the country.
Batsrang A Sangma, well known in the local running circuit, will now become a household name in the state after the exploits of the 22 year old who beat the competition to win the 3rd edition of the Delhi Half Marathon in the non-elite (amateur, 18-25) category. Such was the dominance of his performance that he placed 2nd in the overall run behind the professional (elite) run winner by just one minute.
The runner from the state completed the 21 km run with a timing of 1 hour 10 mins while the elite competition winner stood at a time of 1 hour 9 mins.
The son of a farmer, Batsrang earlier this year too, hit the podium at the Kolkata Half Marathon, standing 3rd in the amateur category.
“We are very proud of his achievements in both Kolkata and Delhi and of his being a part of the Tura Runners’ Club. After his podium finishes, we will try for the elite status for him. He is an inspiration for budding distance runners in the state especially for those from the rural belt,” said TRC member, DD Shira, who was also a part of the run in Delhi.
The 22 year old is a degree student from Durama College in Tura and is expected to reach Tura on Sunday night from Delhi. Both the runs where he finished in the podium were Athletic Federation of India and International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) certified races.
“Once he gets elite status, the AFI will help him in training for the future,” added Shira.
Commenting on his win, Batsrang said it felt ‘good’ but there was more to achieve. He also wished to thank all those who were behind his phenomenal run including the TRC, his friends, the two deputy commissioners of East and West Garo Hills, Swapnil Tembe and Ram Singh, respectively, for their support in seeing him race.
The young athlete was also felicitated for his exploits at the Republic Day celebration this year.
“He is a future superstar in the making, provided he gets the support to continue doing what he does best. The state government should see that such talents are encouraged and back them to the hilt. There is no end to what he can achieve and how proud he can make us and the country proud,” said a government official, who supported the young runner, on the condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, the Garo Hills region has been toasting the success of the athlete through accolades that kept pouring in on social media.