Esow Alben: I injured my hand before World Championships final

The Indian sprint team defeated Australia in the final with a score of 44.681 to win gold at UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships last month.

Ronaldo Singh, Rojit Singh, Esow Alben and Jemsh Singh with their gold medals.   -  Facebook @UnionCyclisteInternationale

The formidable sprint cycling team of Esow Alben, Ronaldo Singh, Rojit Singh and Jemsh Singh made history when they won the gold medal at UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships held in Frankfurt, Germany last month. The Indian team defeated Australia in the final with a score of 44.681 and the quartet spoke about the feat at the Russian Culture Centre here on Saturday.

For someone who used to cycle to go for rowing in Andaman and despite playing other sports like football, athletics (long jump) and rowing, the 18-year-old Alben was destined to excel in sprint cycling. Alben’s mother forced him to go for SAI (Sports Authority of India) cycling trials with an aim to achieve big. “My mom, who was a sportsperson herself, left her work and took me for the trails where I got selected. She told me sport can change your life and she was right, it did.

"I injured my hand before the final but I was so passionate about finishing first that I forgot about the pain," said Alben.

Rigorous training, staying away from mobile phone and several hours put in the gym with proper coaching and guidance has made Alben excel on the cycling track. “As a team, our goal is to get a podium finish in the 2022 Asian Games and 2024 Olympics,” said Alben.

Ronaldo from Manipur stressed, “Two years ago we had pledged to win the gold. Such an opportunity (to win on August 15) was a huge motivation. Only Indian Army and sportsperson get the opportunity to hear their national anthem play after a victory and as the latter we did it. We overcame many hurdles to win.”

Reflecting on India’s unprecedented success in the World Championships, Cycling Federation of India (CFI) chairman Onkar Singh said, “Our boys stunned the whole world when they won the gold. All this would not have been possible without the support of SAI, UCI (International Cycling Union) and Honda. When we started, we had only one cycle and now we have 200, thanks to Honda.”

Esow will be seen in action at the CFI Track Asia Cup 2019 at the Yamuna Cycling Velodrome.