Yam Sajan – The Bolt of Nepal

July 16, 2014 , by Pragya Thapaliya, 1 Comment
Yam Sajan – The Bolt of Nepal » My Dreams Mag
The ‘fastest man’ could be a source of inspiration for millions of youths in the nation who dream of taking sports as a career but are subdued by the limitations in scope. Yam Sajan could be a trendsetter that can inspire new generation of sprinters.

If expectations are not fizzled out, Nepali athletics will see a change in course of its history. A history that had begun with the dominion set by legendary marathonner Baikuntha Manandhar in the mid 80s which still stands as the summit of the sport’s achievement.


Dubbed the Usain Bolt of Nepal, sprinter Yam Sajan Sunar has become a dominant figure in Nepali athletics breaking one after another records and finally setting a benchmark of 10.3 seconds in 100m. Converted into electronic time, Yam Sajan’s timing accounts for 10.56 seconds which signals he has thrown down the gauntlet to his country’s middle and long distance runners hitherto.


Eyes, no doubt, are lit up over Yam Sajan’s domination in the 100m and 200m races that has come with the bonus of record timing. There is a belief that Nepal’s medal drought in international sprint field is about to be a history but for the speedster, he has to overcome a history that probably began with a high before hitting a new low.


Manandhar, the frontrunner of Nepali athletics, completed a hat-trick of gold medals in the first three editions of the South Asian Games (formerly known as SAF Games) in 1984, 1985 and 1987. It was a rare feat in the history of the regional athletics and Manandhar was quick to stamp his authority when he completed the third edition in then-Calcutta with a record time of 2 hours 15 minutes 03 seconds.


Nepal still boasts the achievement from Manandhar as his timing hasn’t been overshadowed by any runner in the Games with 27 years in running. Many might have though that this was just the beginning of Nepal’s road to glory in the international athletics. But instead of cashing in on the momentum, the country went through a patchy phase thriving for another breakthrough.


Ripping the black shadows apart, Rajendra Bhandari from Tribhuwan Army club emerged as a ray of hope and stood up to the expectations. A middle distance runner Rajendra won two silver medals in the 9th South Asian Games and took one step further striking double gold in the 2006 SAG in Colombo doing it in the 5000m and 3000m steeplechase.


But the ecstasy was short-lived when Rajendra tested positive in doping for using Norandrosterone — a performance enhancing drugs. Nepali athletics had yet again taken a sabbatical in the international domain after the new found star was stripped off his gold medals.


After being deprived of, Rajendra switched into long distance running and won a gold in the 2010 SAG but due to technical glitches in Dhaka, the marathon was termed a road race. However, it was yet another gold medal for Nepal in long distance running with sprint field still in the hunt.


Yam Sajan1aAfter a long setback, Nepal are finally on the track to strike and Yam Sajan is just the person whom the country’s athletics could pin the hopes on. The 21 year old recently made the cut for the 17th Asian Games to be held in Incheon in September, while a spot in the 11th SAG all but guaranteed, his potential will face one of the toughest tests of his life.


A former Nepal Police Club athlete, Yam, outperformed all other sprinters on his way to break the 14 year old record of Ram Krishna Chaudhary set during the 1999 SAG. His record breaking performance in the 37th National Athletics that won him the title of ‘The Fastest Man’. He timed 10.5s to get the better of Ram Krishna whose timing was 10.56s.


It was soon followed by another benchmark — 10.3s — during the Asian Games selection in June this year. The quickest time in Nepali athletics history has branded him the ‘Usain Bolt of Nepal.’


Yam Sajan admires Bolt but its not the Jamaican whom he idolises, having his own principle in these regards. “Rather than looking at others and trying to be like them, I have always wanted to be someone whom other people can revere and aspire to become. And I believe that my dedication in the field of athletics can make me that person,” he said.


The veteran athletes and close observers believe that Yam is not very far from getting a medal for Nepal in short distance running. His recent record is in a touching distance of Sri Lankan virtuoso Shehan Ambepitiya’s 10.46 seconds that won him 100m gold in the last SAG in Bangladesh.


Beginning his journey with he district level competitions, Yam Sajan, who hails from Jajarkot, made a long way to the track at the Dasharath Stadium. He says his in-born quality spurred him to this level.


People say, “Shoot for the moon and even if you miss, you will be among the stars.” Yam also has high hopes and believes that they are attainable. He sees himself winning gold medal in the upcoming South Asian Games, reach the semi finals of the Asian Games and has plans to participate in the Olympics. National Sports Council (NSC) chief athletics coach Sushil Narsingh Rana seconds Yam Sajan.


But he also adds, “We have very high hopes from Yam and we believe he will win a medal for Nepal in the upcoming SAG but let us do a reality check and forget about the colour of the medal. I think that the gateway to the semi finals of Asian Games is almost open for us.”

Yam Sajan Sunar

Yam Sajan was not always a sprinter. What a lot of people don’t know is, he also had flair in high jump in which he secured gold medal at the age of 16 in 2009. He participated in long jump and 100m in the sixth National Games in 2012 where he returned with a gold in the former and a silver in latter.


Despite giving a top-drawer performance in long jump, he decided to completely switch fields to short distance sprint. “I decided to leave other events and put focus on sprint because it has more scope in the national and international arena. As I look back at the past now, I believe I made a right choice,” added Yam Sajan, a BSC third year student at Tri Chandra College and wants a Masters degree on it.


It is normal for every family of a Nepali athlete to show concern over his future and Yam Sajan’s was not an exception. It took time for his family to hold themselves back and let their kid live his sporty life. “They didn’t know much about my achievement in the early days. But after my performance began to bring me name and fame, they seem glad.”


Yam Sajan 4aIt seems like a reel life when you picture a boy from Jajarkot making it in the sports scenario in the national level. Sports has not only given him an opportunity to demonstrate his talent but also a stardom few could achieve.


Yam Sajan was nominated in the Pulsar Popular Player of the Year and Player of the Year (Male)for his performance last year. In the most coveted award for sportspersons, Yam Sajan was named alongside the biggest sports stars of the country. Yam Sajan wants to break all the conventions.


There seems to be a misconception in people that one cannot make a good living as a sportsperson. That is exactly the sort of mentality I want to change.”


Yam Sajan recently missed an international tournament — the Open Asian Track and Field Championships in Malaysia — after he twisted his ankle while celebrating his record 10.3s at the Dasharath Stadium. It was a tournament where Nepal won three gold medals and coach Rana had never wanted Yam Sajan to miss the event.


“The Malaysian event would have been a perfect event for an athlete like Yam Sajan because it could have given continuity to the momentum that he has been getting. We are quite concerned over his twisted ankle and hope he recovers quickly,” said Rana.


As Yam Sajan comes out of the recuperation period, his eyes and the swift legs will once again keep focus on the big upcoming events that can be important in Nepali sprint field. If Yam Sajan continues with the same pace, there is no second thought that he will be able to break the notion that Nepal is not very capable in short distance track and field.


The ‘fastest man’ could be a source of inspiration for millions of youths in the nation who dream of taking sports as a career but are subdued by the limitations in scope. Yam Sajan could be a trendsetter that can inspire new generation of sprinters.


He has the drive, passion, discipline, competitiveness, confidence, focus and all other quint-essentials required in the making of great athletes that come once in a while. Dreams wishes him all the best for the Asian Games and South Asian Games and hopes that once again the nation will be proud and hold its head high.



Text by: Pragya Thapaliya


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One comment on “Yam Sajan – The Bolt of Nepal

  1. Ritesh Thapa says:

    All the best Mr. Sunar…make us proud..Jay nepal.

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