Ace cyclists Deborah Herold and Esow Alben will lead the 34-member Indian challenge in the Track Asia Cup, which is also qualification for World Cup, World Championship and Tokyo Olympics, to be held at the Cycling Velodrome, Indira Gandhi Sports Complex here from September 9-11.
More than 150 cyclists from 15 countries -- Kazakhstan, Hong Kong, Uzbekistan, UAE, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Iran, China, Myanmar, Singapore, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Latvia and Slovakia besides the hosts India -- will vie for top honours.
The Cycling Federation of India (CFI ) has come a long way since organsing in 2014 with hardly any stars to showcase and now has become a force specially in Junior section, not only at the Asian level but also left a mark at the Juniors World Championship with unprecedented success.
The main strength of the Indian team is the Juniors led by Esow Alben currently ranked no 1 in the Kierin & Sprint event in the UCI world ranking.
Indian Juniors in Sprint Team event are also ranked at no 2 and this makes them a formidable team and it would be very tough for other countries to beat them. The junior team sprint, which won gold recently in the World Junior Championship, will be the star attraction, while Esow Alben, who secured three medals in the same championships and is the recipient of three gold medals in the Asian Continental Championships 2019, will lead the Indian challenge.
In the women's section, Deborah Herold and Aleena Reji will spearhead the Indian campaign. They will face tough competition from Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand.
The tournament is a UCI class I accredited event. The important factor is that that the event is not only part of the World Cup, World Championship, but also the qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The process of qualification, started in July 2018 will go up to February 20, 2020, thus making it the most competitive one. The main challenge in the event will come from Hong Kong, Thailand, Kazakhstan and Malaysia.
The teams, which started arriving on Saturday, will have two days of practice sessions at the velodrome before the commencement of the event on Monday.
The hosts will also enter their second team which will consist of cyclists from the Khelo India Cycling Academy, which is being managed jointly by the Sports authority of India and CFI. This will provide the much needed exposure of international competition to the young aspiring cyclists of the country.
CFI Chairman Onkar Singh told media persons that “this event is a buildup competition for Indian cyclists, which is being organised regularly so that Junior Cyclists of India can compete with Asia’s best and the exposure achieved here may be encashed for future events. The Junior cyclists will once again show their prowess and will dominate the track. Esow who is participating in the senior level will be tested in his journey to the senior category."
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