What's the story?
India's junior cyclist Laitonjam Ronaldo Singh has scripted history. The latest cycling sensation has scaled the summit of Union Cycliste Internationale's (UCI) rankings in all 4 sprint event categories.
Laitonjam Ronaldo came into the limelight last year when he bagged a gold medal at the Asian Track Cycling Championships taking place at Incheon in South Korea. The medal came in the Junior Keirin event. India's James Singh had also brought home a bronze medal in at the championships. Furthermore, the Men's and Women's teams won Bronze medals in their respective events.
There has been an unprecedented rise in Indian cycling in the recent couple of years and Ronaldo is one of the cyclists at the forefront.
Back in 2018, Esow Alben had created history by becoming the first-ever Indian to win a medal at the Junior Track Cycling World Championships. Post this, the 18-year-old from Andaman had gone no a gold medal-winning spree.
Esow won 3 golds at the Junior Asian Track Cycling Championships in Malaysia. He also won 3 gold medals (in Team Sprint, Sprint, and Keirin) at the Junior Asian Track Cycling Championships held in 2019. Such fantastic achievements helped Esow reach the World Number 1 spot in 2019.
The heart of the matter
As per the latest UCI World Rankings released recently, Laitonjam Ronaldo Singh is Number 1 in the Men's Junior Individual sprint, Men's Junior 1 km Time Trial, and Men's Junior Keirin. These three are the individual events in which he grabbed the top spot. The youngster has shown significant improvement as he finished 7th in the UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships (Men's Junior Sprint) in 2019.
18-year-old Ronaldo is also part of the Indian Team which is ranked Number 1 in the Team Sprint. Y Rojit Singh is his partner in the Team Event.
Ronaldo's second rank at the GP Brno track cycling event in Czech Republic and a first-place finish at the 2020 Asian Track Championship (in Men's Junior Sprint) have helped him scale such heights. Kiren Rijiju, India's Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, congratulated him on the feat.
Meanwhile, Rojit has also brought multiple laurels to the country. He is ranked 3rd in the Men's Junior Sprint event and is second in Men's Junior Keirin.
Furthermore, Nisha Nikita and Triyasha Paul - both Indian junior women - are also in the Top 3. According to a release by the Cycling Federation of India (CFI), Nisha is 2nd in Keirin while Triyasha is ranked 3rd in the 500m Time Trial. In the National Rankings, India is at the top in both Men's Junior Sprint and Keirin and only behind Belgium in Men's Junior 1 km Time Trial.
India's young cyclists are creating an impact on the world stage. They are currently training with coach RK Sharma and his team at the SAI's National Cycling Acadmeny at the Indira Gandhi Cycling Velodrome in New Delhi.