CWG Cycling: A long way to go

India's Deborah Herold celebrates after winning the women's sprint final in the Track Asia Cup Cycling championship in New Delhi in 2015.   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

 

India did quite well in the Asian Track Cycling Championship held in Nilai, Malaysia, winning four medals including three gold and a bronze. Understandably, the Cycling Federation of India has selected the squad for the Commonwealth Games based on those performances.

The five-member women’s team includes Deborah Herold (Sprint, Keirin, Individual Time Trial, Team Pursuit), Aleena Reji (Sprint, Individual Time Trial, Keirin), M. Sonali Chanu (Endurance Events, Team Pursuit), T. Manorama Devi (Endurance Events, Team Pursuit) and Amritha Reghunath (Team Pursuit, Point Race).

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Four male cyclists who will be participating at the Gold Coast Games are Ranjit Singh (Team Sprint, Individual Time Trial 1000m), Sahil Kumar (Team Sprint, Keirin), Sanuraj P. (Team Sprint, Individual Sprint, Keirin) and Manjeet Singh (Endurance events).

But cycling at the Commonwealth Games will be a different ball game as the field comprises veteran Tour de France contestants, world and Olympic champions from powerhouses like England, Australia and New Zealand.

India’s best known and best-placed cyclist Deborah Herold is ranked 13th in time trial, No. 26 in the Keirin and No. 39 in Sprint, but has not been in great form in the last season. In the men’s rankings, national record-holder Ranjit Singh is the best placed Indian in the individual time trial at No. 64. In such a scenario, expecting the Indians to win medals in the current edition of the Commonwealth Games would just be a pipe dream.