National Cycling: Kerala retains overall title

Kerala finished with 91 points for its 10th overall title in the National meet. Maharashtra, with two gold medals on the final day, came second with 56 points and edged Andamans & Nicobar (54) to the third spot.

The Kerala team, which won the overall title.

Kerala, powered largely by the performance of its women and junior girls cyclists, retained the overall title in the 69th Senior, 46th Junior and 32nd sub-junior National Track cycling championship which concluded at the LNCPE Velodrome here on Sunday.

On the final day, Kerala added two more gold medals to its tally by winning the team sprint in both the women and the under-18 categories. Kerala finished with 91 points for its 10th overall title in the National meet. Maharashtra, with two gold medals on the final day, came second with 56 points and edged Andamans & Nicobar (54) to the third spot.

The high voltage action on the last day saw as many as six records being set, mostly in the team sprint events. Services, powered by the best cyclist P. Sanu Raj, set the trend for the day by breaking the men’s team sprint record. The Services team clocked 1:05.969s and in the process erased the old record (1:06.259s) set by Punjab in 2015.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands won the boys' under-18 team sprint event with a new record. It clocked 1:06.409 to break the old mark (1:08.481s) set by Kerala in 2015.

Kerala women represented by Kezia and Rejani lived up to their billing as favourites in the team sprint by winning the gold with a new record. Kerala clocked 50.505 to improve on the old record which stood in its name set last year. In the under-18 girls' category, Nayana Rajesh and Aleena Reji of Kerala set a new mark in the team sprint. The duo clocked 49.898 seconds to improve on the old mark (52.964) set by Kerala in 2015.

The day’s other two records were set by Maharashtra in the team sprint in both the boys' and girls' sections in the under-16 category. P. Sanu Raj of Services and Deborah of Andamans and Nicobar were chosen as the best cyclists of the meet.

Meanwhile, Onkar Singh the General Secretary of the Cycling Federation of India (CFI) said he was disappointed with the National Anti Doping Agency’s (NADA) callous attitude. He said the CFI informed NADA about the meet in August and had sent repeated reminders to the body. "NADA has let us down by not turning up for this meet. I am disappointed and upset with their attitude as it is their duty to be present for every national meet. I will take up this matter with the sports ministry," he said.

The results:

Men: Team sprint: 1. SSCB (1:05.969s – NMR; OR – 1:06.259s, Punjab, 2015), 2. RSPB, 3. Haryana; 30km point race: 1. Satbir Singh (SSCB) (71 pts), 2. B. Mugesh (Telangana), 3. Dinesh Kumar (Rajasthan; Keirin race: 1. P. Sanu Raj (SSCB) (2:05.001s), 2. Emerson (Andaman & Nicobar), 3. Sachin Desai (Maharashtra).

Boys: Under-18: Team sprint: 1. Andaman & Nicobar (1:06.409s – NMR; OR – 1:09.481s, Kerala, 2015), 2. Maharashtra, 3. Punjab.

Under-16: Team sprint: 1. Maharashtra (1:09.156- NMR; OR -1:10.388, Maharashtra, 2015), 2. Andaman & Nicobar, 3. Manipur.

Women: 3000m individual pursuit: 1. T. Bidyaluxmi (RSPB), (4:22.602) 2. R. K. Abe Devi (Manipur), 3. Amritha Reghunath (Kerala); 20km point race: 1. Panna Chaudhary (RSPB) (30 points), 2. P. O. Sayona (Kerala), 3. R. K. Abe Devi (Manipur); Team sprint: 1. Kerala (50.505s – NMR; 0R -50.834s, Kerala, 2015), 2. Andaman & Nicobar, 3. RSPB.

Girls: Under-18: Team sprint: 1. Kerala (49.898s – NMR ; OR – 52.964s, Kerala, 2015), 2. Maharashtra, 3. Assam.

Under-16: 1. Maharashtra (52.213s – NMR; OR – 54.969s, Maharashtra, 2015), 2. Assam, 3. Kerala.

Best Cyclists:

Men: P. Sanu Raj (SSCB) – 13 points.

Women: Deborah (Andaman & Nicobar) – 10 points.

Overall championships: 1. Kerala (91 points), 2. Maharashtra (56 points), 3. Andaman & Nicobar (54 points).

(eom)