India’s Esow Alben wins silver at World Junior Track cycling C’ship

Czech Republic’s Jakub Stastny won the gold medal after being put under pressure by Esow Alben.

A jubilant Esow Alben after finishing the race and claiming silver.   -  Twitter @IndiaSports

Teen cyclist Esow Alben has scripted history by claiming India’s first ever medal -- a silver at the UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships in Aigle, Switzerland.

The 17-year-old from Andaman and Nicobar put enormous pressure on Czech Republic’s Jakub Stastny in the final sprint before settling for the silver medal. Kazakh cyclist Andrey Chugay won the bronze medal.

Esow finished just 0.017 seconds behind gold medallist Stastny in the thrilling photo-finish of a race. In the first round, he had topped his heat with a 200m timing of 10.851 seconds.

Silver-medallist Esow Alben poses for the cameras.   -  Twitter @IndiaSports

“I just wanted to stay at the front and avoid getting involved in any crashes. I believed I could win but I am still happy ... well a little bit happy,” Esow was quoted as saying by Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).

Esow, who became the world no 1 in junior sprint category after a sensational run in the Asian Championships and victories in the 2018 Cottbuser Sprint Cup 2, GP Brno Track Cycling competitions, trains in Delhi at the Sports Authority of India’s National Cycling Academy.

Esow was also in action in the men’s team sprint event alongside Mayur Pawar and James Keithellakpam Singh but the trio failed to qualify for the finals, after producing a timing of 15.957s in 200m and 26.914s in the 400m events.

Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore congratulated Esow for his achievement.

“WELL DONE, ESOW! Remarkable achievement! May many more medals come your way!,” tweeted Rathore.