Two years ago, when Prabhsimran Singh took to competitive riding, he not only intended to step into father, Kirpal Singh's, shoes, he hoped to represent India at the Olympics, a feat his father couldn't achieve during his decade-old sporting career.
Prabhsimran, 17, is the face of India's generation next. Like her, there are 20 other competitors in the junior division of the Hero Asian Cycling Championship, hoping to make it big. However, their dreams may stay unfulfilled in the absence of modern equipment. It was evident during the junior women's 500m time trial on Thursday when Deborah lost the silver to her Chinese Taipei rival.
When HT visited the India camp, there were only bare essentials like tubes, chains and wires. Team mechanic, Bhim Singh, admitted that there were no spare parts in case of an unforeseen incident. He had demanded 20 'competition tubular' for each day but got only 10. On the contrary, Japan have modern equipment worth R50 lakh. Jashnjit Kaur pointed to primitive coaching methods.
"There is need for a more professional approach," she said after missing bronze narrowly in the junior women's 2000m individual pursuit on Friday. Women's coach, Ruma Chatterjee, agreed that advanced equipment was needed to make an impact in big events. "Cycling is growing, but it will take time to reach the next level," she said.
Results: Jr women: individual pursuit 2000m: Yao Pang (Hong Kong), Yi Ju Lin (Chinese Taipei), Yekaterina (Kazakhstan), Jashnjit Kaur (India). Women elite: Individual pursuit 3000m: Youri Kim (Korea), Sakura Tsukagoshi (Japan), Jiujin Li (China), Y Sunita Devi (India).