The 5th edition of Track Asia Cup 2018 organised by Cycling Federation of India started off here at Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, New Delhi on Friday, 21st September. Participants from 12 countries compete in this enthralling cycling event which is not only the qualifying event for World Cup and World championship, but also for 2020 Tokyo Olympics. India being the favourites hopes to clinch an authentic victory.
The opening day of the Track Asia Cup 2018 witnessed 7 finals out of which India secured 3 gold medals, 3 silver and 1 bronze.
It was the juniors of the host camp who kicked off the medal hunt. India’s Junior Bilal Ahmed Dar opened the India’s tally with a Silver in Point Race of 15km in Junior Men category. He earned total 19 points to bag the silver medal of this race. Kazakhstan’s Danll Pekhotin earned 22 points and grabbed the Gold. Venkanpa S Kengalgutti of SAINCA’s (India’s another team) bagged bronze.
Mayuri Lute of the Indian camp brought in the first gold medal in the Women Junior 500 meter. She outclassed Thailand’s rider clocking 37.538s with a speed of 47.95 km/hr while Thailand’s rider Kanyarat Hnokaew clocked 38.470s to win Silver. Kazakhstan’s Alyona Abramchuk won Bronze with 38.628s.
After winning the Gold medal, Mayuri said that “There was no pressure on me and I enjoyed the race. This is a good exposure championships for us, I’m thankful to CFI for organising this regularly.”
In the Women Elite 500 mtr. Time trial category, India's M Sonali Chanu (37.140 s) had to satisfy with bronze finishing behind two Indonesian cyclists who performed a tough fight between each other with a difference of just 0.002 s.
The Indian men's junior team performed as expected in the team sprint event, obtaining another gold for India defeating the Kazakhstan team. Esow, Abhishek and Jemsh Singh of India clocked 46.804 s while the Kazakhstan team took 47.747 s for the finals. The Indian junior team is ranked second in the UCI rankings.
In the much cheered for Women Elite Team Sprint event, Indonesian team won the gold medal with a timing of 34.862 s. India's M. Sonali and Deborah obtained silver clocking 35.100 s. Hong-Kong obtained bronze in this event.
Adding to their medal stack, Indonesia secured gold again in the Men Elite Team Sprint. Sahil, Sanu Raj and Apolonious of India secured silver with a timing of 47.103 s while Indonesian team clocked 45.848 s. Bangladesh came third. SAINCA team was relegated for causing crash of opponent in this event.
In the Men Elite Team Pursuit event, Indian team won the gold medal, while SAINCA and Bangladesh got silver and bronze respectively.
Along with India's medals, SAINCA which competed separately, won one silver and a bronze.
After the conclusion of day 1, Coach RK Sharma said, “We are blessed as World Cycling Satellite Centre is here in Delhi and all the required facilities are available here. Our athletes are doing well in Asia as well as on World level, we are confident to win some big International medals for the country.”
Mr. Onkar Singh, the secretary general of Cycling Federation of India said that he is satisfied with the performance of Indian team on the opening day. He is hopeful about India securing the championship.