New Delhi - Prasanta Karmakar, the only Indian to make a splash in para-swimming, is all set to leave the pool for the pedals and will be seen setting the tracks on fire at the Hero Asian Cycling Championship slated for March 5.
The loss of swimming could be the gain for cycling as there is no age bar for para-cycling unlike in swimming where athletes beyond 33 cannot participate.
The Commonwealth Games bronze-medalist’s never-say-die attitude has always helped him go that extra mile even after losing a part of his right hand in a road accident when he was only seven years old. And he promises not to let the disability come in the way of him heading into the uncharted territory of cycling.
“I never shy away from a challenge. Although it’s the first time I am participating in a Para-cycling event in my life, I am confident of making an impact in the sport. Even swimming happened by chance in my life. I didn’t know then that I would do the country proud one day. Why should I not be optimistic about my chances in cycling?” said Karmakar.
Karmakar created history by becoming the first Indian Para-athlete to win a medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games (CWG) and followed it up with silver and bronze medals for the country in the Para Asian Games in Guangzhou (China) in 2010.
Now he would be seen in a new avatar, competing in the para-cycling segment of the Hero Asian Cycling Championship, in which cyclists from four countries are participating in the event.
Karmakar has been practicing for the event at the Indira Gandhi Velodrome.
“I have been putting in at least 2 to 3 hours every day in the run up to this event and am enjoying the run completely,” added the Haryana-based athlete.
The Para-cycling event will be a prelude to the main championships, beginning from March 7-17 at the IG Sports Complex and Buddha International Circuit (BIC) F1 track.