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Khelo India Youth Games 2020 Medal Tally: Karnataka's cyclists clinch four medals - Beginning of a revolution?

Published 13 Jan 2020, 16:45 IST
13 Jan 2020, 16:45 IST

L to R - Sampath Pasamel, Soumya Antapur, Megha Gugad, Raju Bati (Image Credits - KIYG 2020)
L to R - Sampath Pasamel, Soumya Antapur, Megha Gugad, Raju Bati (Image Credits - KIYG 2020)

What's the story?

Four of Karnataka's cyclists - Soumya Antapur, Raju Bati, Megha Gugad, and Sampath Pasamel - bagged a medal each in their respective categories at the ongoing Khelo India Youth Games 2020

The background

KIYG 2020 is going on in full swing in Guwahati. The government initiative was started in 2018 in a bid to promote sports at the grassroots level in the country and has gained immense popularity since.

Cycling is one of the sports which made its debut in the 2020 edition of the flagship event, which will go on till January 22, 2020. 

The heart of the matter

Megha Gugad clinched the silver medal in the Girls U-21 individual time trial event on January 12. The youngster belongs to a family of kabaddi players and wrestlers, so sports runs in her blood. Contrary to family tradition, however, Gugad found her calling in cycling. 

She also has a reason for the same. According to the rising cyclist, a revolution is taking the deeper parts of Karnataka by storm. Every second youngster is interested in cycling. 

Also Get: Khelo India Youth Games 2020 Medal Tally

“You can call it a revolution. All the cyclists who are doing well for Karnataka now come from Bagalkot or Bijapur"

As a matter of fact, all four of Karnataka's medal winners in cycling hail either from small districts in either Bijapur or Bagalkot. 

"An uncle in the village told my father to send me to the cycling trials held by the Youth Empowerment Department hostel in Bagalkot. That’s how it all began," Gugal recalled her cycling journey.

Currently an employee with the Railways, Megha Gugad is training under Vijay Singh Rajput and Ninjappa Yentetta. 

Soumya Antapur shares a similar story. The athlete attended the trials conducted at the Bagalkot hostel and eventually graduated to the senior hostel situated in Bijapur. Soumya clinched a bronze medal in the Under-17 Girls category. Earlier in 2019, the youngster had claimed a bronze medal at the 2019 National Juniors. 

“It’s never easy, coming to a new venue, not being familiar with the conditions and the competition is always top notch. I’m happy with the bronze, but not entirely with my own performance," Soumya shared her experience with the KIYG team. 

Raju Bati, another resident of the Bilaspur Hostel, emerged as the bronze medallist in the boys U-21 category. His father, who passed away a few years ago, always believed Raju would do well in the sport. 

Furthermore, Sampath Pasamel also won the bronze medal in the boys U-17 time trial event. 

What's next

The Bagalkot-Bijapur districts in Karnataka are producing many promising cyclists. With four of them winning medals at KIYG 2020, more youngsters from the region would be motivated to take up the sport. 

Modified 15 Jan 2020, 19:03 IST
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