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HindustanTimes Wed,17 Sep 2014

Waiting for access to the velodrome

HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 12, 2012
First Published: 01:07 IST(12/10/2012) | Last Updated: 01:12 IST(12/10/2012)

Rohit Sharma
Delhi cyclist

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Rohit Sharma and Roshan performed very well in the track disciplines of the national cycling competition in 2011. But the Delhi teenagers are clueless as to why are they not allowed to use the state-of-the-art velodrome at Indira Gandhi Stadium in New Delhi.

After the 2010 Commonwealth Games cycling events were over, the indoor facilities at the stadium were closed. These days, they are 'out of bounds' for local players, though the national camp, in preparation for Asian meet, started from July/August this year.

It's very strange, said Rohit, that local players are being denied the use of facilities. "We were promised that it will open but so far nothing has happened," he added.

Since two years, all other venues that hosted the CWG events have been thrown open but not the indoor velodrome.

Rohit said lack of facilities has forced him and others to practice on roads instead of track. It has also exposed him to the unsafe city roads as there aren't any designated areas for cycling. "It's dangerous but we don't have any other option," Rohit said on hitting the road for training. To avoid heavy traffic, the cyclist trains early in the morning.

"We can't train after 6.30 in the morning as the roads get busy," the national level player said of the limitation in training.

Since the indoor velodrome isn't open for local riders, it has also limited training hours of upcoming cyclists. "It's one training session a day," said an official of the Delhi Cycling Association.

The official said almost all cyclists in the Capital have shifted to road racing from track events due to lack of indoor facilities. This speaks volumes about the reason the Delhi team doesn't make an impression in the track events.


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