By Nick Creely
National race-walking champion Pramesh Prasad continues to break records at an alarming rate, and nothing seems to be slowing him down.
The 44-year-old Narre Warren local and Casey Fields Masters athlete is a real story of persistence since moving from Fiji to Melbourne in the early 1990’s, carving out an incredible race-walking career that has seen him already claim three national titles, a bounty of records and gold medals in Australian, Victorian and International Masters tournaments.
In 2018 alone, he broke four national records for Fiji – including ending a 21-year 5000 metre record – and holds more records than any male athlete in his home country, an incredible feat.
This year, Prasad has steadily built on his success, challenging himself in many gruelling events, and is setting his sights on a national record in a six-hour event in Coburg in the near future after breaking Fiji’s national record for 10 kilometres in 49:27, and two weeks prior breaking a 15 kilometre record for the Victorian Masters.
“In the last six months, I did my first 50 kilometre event, which was at the Victorian Championships, so I won the state championships, and by winning that, I was ranked number one in Australia in Open Division, so that’s been a big challenge for me,” he said.
“And I did a six-hour event in Coburg and came first with 56.3 kilometres, which unfortunately is 500 metres from the national record, but hopefully I can get that in years to come.
“I also went through the local Victorian Track and Field summer season and did well.”
But this year is the big one, the Oceania Athletics Association Championships in late-June, in which Prasad will represent Fiji in the 10,000 metre race-walk.
In what is one of the biggest athletics championships of the year – with over 500 athletes competing from around Oceania in a four-day event – Prasad is certainly excited for the challenge.
“I will be competing with some great athletes, so it’ll be tough, but I’m going there to get the experience and get a time,” he said.
“We don’t really race in winter times so it’ll be good to get a good time.
“I’m looking forward to it.”
Away from the competitive field, Pramesh is also doing some private coaching at Casey Fields as part of the Casey Masters Athletics Club, and urges people to come along to the group, which meets each Monday night at 7pm, welcoming anyone interested in general health and fitness to give it a go regardless of ability.