Poly student breaking running records barefoot

Poly student breaking running records barefoot
Nabin Parajuli, 21, jumps over hurdles during his training. Hurdles are a component of the Steeplechase event.

Just two years ago, he was a school librarian.

These days, he is a hunky record smashing runner who prefers to cover the distance barefooted.

How good is he?

At the recent Hong Bao Run, Mr Nabin Parajuli came in second to Mok Ying Ren, Singapore's top marathoner who won a gold medal at the Myanmar South-east Asia (SEA) Games last year.

And he was only three seconds slower than Mok.

It was quite an achievement for the 21-year-old because it was his first competitive run outdoors.

"At first, I was advised to wear shoes because of the terrain, but after the first 200m, I threw them away and ran barefoot," he said.

He began running competitively only two years ago, yet managed to break three records in last year's Polytechnic-Institute of Technical Education Track and Field Championships (POL-ITE).

The Nepalese-born Singapore PR, who entered Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) in 2012, won an NYP award for his sporting achievements two weeks ago.

He had no previous sports experience, having been in the Library Club throughout his years at St. Gabriel's Secondary School.

Then, in May 2012, at the age of 19, Mr Nabin took part in a 4km school run and finished fourth.

Mr Nabin said: "After the run, the athletics coach asked me if I had run before, as I had a talent."

NATURAL TALENT

Mr Nabin's coach, Mr Tho Yow Kin, said it was rare for someone to finish so close to the Athletics team members who had been training consistently.

"For someone without any running experience, it meant that (Mr Nabin) had some in-built talent," Mr Tho said.

Mr Nabin took part in POL-ITE 2012 after encouragement from Mr Tho and trained with the NYP Athletics team.

Without a podium finish, Mr Nabin felt that the "results were not good" and the experience pushed him to start training properly.

He said: "Before POL-ITE 2012, I rarely went for training. But after that, I wanted to join Athletics officially because getting to represent the school is a whole different feeling."

RECORD-BREAKING

A year later, Mr Nabin entered the same competition and saw outstanding results - he had broken all records in the Steeplechase, 5km and 10km events.

He said: "I didn't train to break the records, I was focused on being better than what I already was."

And as if breaking the records were not enough, Mr Nabin broke them barefoot.

"The first day I went for training with the team, everyone was wearing their shoes, but I felt better without them, so I just took them off."

And he has not worn them again since.

His love for running barefoot, also known as natural running, has spread to many of his teammates, who tried it out curiously at first.

Many now run barefoot during trainings and in competitions.

"When I run barefoot, my brain can connect with my feet for every step that I take so it helps me to understand my body better," Mr Nabin said.

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