In a first for Indian cycling across any age category, the Men’s junior sprint have cemented the world number 1 spot in the team sprint event as per the recently released Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) rating release. The rankings are updated every three months, and the national team has jumped directly from 11th spot to number one with a points tally of 1012.5 points.
The narrowly edged out Poland, who occupy second with 960 point, followed by South Korea who raked in 900 points. General Secretary of the Cycling Federation of India (CFI) Onkar Singh said, “You have just witnessed history in the making, this feat is amazing because when the Federation started functioning properly back in 2013, the junior team was ranked 149th, so you see how much they have progress. What we should also highlight is Indian cycling’s unique landscape. Unlike other sports where they train under one nationational coach, all the 15 boys are from different parts of the country and train under different coaches. This highlights how much India has progressed, despite the scattered talent.”
One of the squad members Sanuraj also reached the individual top ten rankings in the Keirin event. The women’s junior team also showed substantial improvement by occupying the world number 8 spot. Team member Anu Chotia also entered the world top 20. In the senior categories, Andaman and Nicobar Islands cyclist, Deborah Herold remains top ranked, holding the sixth spot, after reaching a career high of fourth in December.
Singh added, “Rio qualification didn’t go as per plan, but our goal still is 2020 Tokyo, I’m confident we will win a medal at that particular event, considering our growth as of now.” The Men’s junior team will again be in action on July 24 at the UCI Junior track Championships in Switzerland. The team has been training for the event under the guidance of the Indian Air Force.