54 medals at stake, no bikes for cyclists | other | Hindustan Times
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54 medals at stake, no bikes for cyclists

other Updated: Aug 27, 2010 01:04 IST
Saurabh Duggal

Indian cyclists will be competing with the best in the business on bicycles that haven't arrived as yet.

With 37 days to go for the Commonwealth Games, the country's ace cyclists haven't yet even seen the bicycles they will be using, let alone practised with them.

After a delay of more than two years, the Sports Ministry released Rs 1.13 crore to the Indian Olympic Association on Tuesday to import the equipment.

But the delay has probably killed India's meagre chances of winning medals at the Games. Since June 2008, the ministry has been drawing up programmes to train the cyclists.

They've even set a target of two medals. But now, even a decent finish seems unlikely.

None of the core group of cyclists who will be competing have equipment comparable to those of cyclists from England, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Malaysia

"A supplier has been found in the UK, but he will only confirm on Monday whether he will be able to deliver the equipment," said ASV Prasad, additional director-general in the Organising Committee.

The cycles will arrive in a semi knocked-down state and could take two days to assemble. India are fielding a 27-member squad.

"Getting the cycles at the last moment won't serve any purpose. A cyclist requires a specific timeframe to get used to the new bicycles. And there is no time for that," said an expert.