Asia Track Cup 2019: Indians shine on Day One

Indians win 12 medals in the cycling competition, including four gold.

Deborah Harold (left) and team-mate Aleena Reji en route to their third-place finish on Monday. Photo: Special Arrangement

India dominated the Asia Track Cup 2019 with 12 medals — including four gold medals — on Day One here at Velodrome, IG complex. In the Elite-Team Sprint, India’s men and women’s junior team won the gold.

In a memorable result, Mayuri Lute of India’s second team — Sports Authority of India National Cycling Academy — won the gold in the women’s elite time trial 500m event.

Deborah Harold, along with team-mate Aleena Reji, won the bronze in the team sprint. Commenting on her performance, Deborah said, “I could have done better as the bronze was not my goal here but nevertheless, it’s a podium finish. I am looking forward to the Asian Championships in Korea now.”

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Reflecting on her performance, Aleena, in a disappointing tone, said, “I had a one false start and then in the second start my foot came out of the pedal which made me lose a little bit of confidence but Deborah boosted my morale and we could manage to get a podium finish.”

Shift of categories

This was Deborah’s last event in women’s team sprint. She will henceforth race in the Omnium category which is a full day event of four disciplines. Her main target is the Asian championships in Korea in October. “My target is Asian championships and Olympics 2024 in Omnium, I am working on my endurance for which I have to do 100km on two days in a week. Our biggest threat in Asian championships is Korea and in Olympics every country gives you a stiff competition.”

Esow Alben’s debut in the senior category did not go as expected. He along with his team-mates won the bronze. He said, “Now I know I have to work harder to increase my level and excel in the senior level. I need to be stronger and tactically smarter,” he said.

Ronaldo Laitolnjan excelled by winning the gold medal in the time trial event with a timing of 1:03.288 minute.

Family legacy

Track cycling is all about technique endurance, speed, tactics and nerve. For Deborah, the journey began with grandfather’s cycling legacy; she came to know about it through her father, and went on to fulfil her grandfather’s wish of cycling internationally.

She started cycling on her father’s bicycle.“When I won a school competition on my father’s cycle, my father motivated me to continue cycling and then the national coach selected me and started training me for the future,” she said.