Senior qualifies for Nationals

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At the PSAL Martin Luther King Jr. Games, senior Minhaj Rahman qualified for the New Balance Nationals Indoor Track Meet in the weight throw event, becoming the first male Townsend Harris athlete to reach this stage of competition. Minhaj threw a distance of 50 feet, 6.00 inches, surpassing the qualifying distance of 48 feet, 0.00 inches by just over two feet. In doing this, he set not only a personal record, but also set the meet record.

 “I screamed out in joy when I heard the official announce my distance,” he said. “To know that I’ve worked my butt off since freshman year getting stronger, stabilizing my muscles, and perfecting my form to finally achieve that of the highest rank is probably one of the best moments I have ever had in my life.”

The competition at a national meet is far more intense than that of a PSAL meet. Elite athletes from across the country will travel to the meet, which will span from March 13-15, at New York’s Armory. Minhaj has a little over a month to prepare.

 “I will be working daily on my form and rotations to make sure I can perfect them in the little time I have,” Minhaj said. “My goal by the end of the season, nationals, is to hit 60 feet.”

Orlando Martinez, coach of the boys indoor track team, is confident that Minhaj has what it takes to excel at the national meet.

 He said, “Minhaj will compete to the best of his ability. There are other throwers there that will throw farther than him, but the reason is because they’ve been throwing the twenty-five pound weight longer than he has. He’s determined. I believe he will do very well. I’m proud of him. [Assistant Coach] Rio is very proud of him. It’s not always that we can get an athlete from Townsend Harris to reach that level.

Overcoming the difficulties of training during the past few weeks and qualifying in his first year competing in the event added to Minhaj’s elation.

 “I’ve been struggling with my form on a daily basis, and my partner, [junior] Aidan Moran, helped me along the lines, pushing and critiquing me every step of the way,” he explained. “It felt like all the struggles I went through had been compensated for.”

 Aidan is impressed by Minhaj’s improvement and admires his diligence, saying, “Weight throw has only been reinstated into PSAL this season and neither of us had any background with it. Despite this, he has adapted exceptionally well, so well that at one point I was throwing further and now he’s got me beat by over eight feet. Minhaj’s adaptability makes him prime for nationals. He may not throw 80 feet, and he may not win, but I have no doubt that Minhaj is the strongest and most resilient athlete of all those that qualified. If he had another year with the weight, he’d be the best in the nation.”