Reet puts Chandigarh cyclists on international map

Updated on Jul 05, 2022 02:57 AM IST

For Reet Kapoor, sports have been a way of life ever since she was three years old. However, it was cycling which struck a chord with her and she recently hit the headlines bringing Chandigarh on the international cycling scene.

The 17-year-old cyclist, Reet Kapoor, won a silver medal in the recently concluded Asian Track Cycling Championship at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, New Delhi, becoming the first female cyclist from Chandigarh to have a podium-finish at international level. (HT Photo)
The 17-year-old cyclist, Reet Kapoor, won a silver medal in the recently concluded Asian Track Cycling Championship at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, New Delhi, becoming the first female cyclist from Chandigarh to have a podium-finish at international level. (HT Photo)
ByNishtha Gupta, Chandigarh

For Reet Kapoor, sports have been a way of life ever since she was three years old. Born to former athletes and now sports professors, Reet first took to swimming to start and then shifted gears to hockey, followed by athletics. However, it was cycling which struck a chord with her and she recently hit the headlines bringing Chandigarh on the international cycling scene.

The 17-year-old cyclist won a silver medal in the recently concluded Asian Track Cycling Championship at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, New Delhi, becoming the first female cyclist from Chandigarh to have a podium-finish at international level. Before that, she had won a bronze medal in the Khelo India Youth Games.

“Being part of the Indian team and then winning a medal at the Asian Track Cycling Championship was special. I have been working really hard for the last three years and I am happy that I could execute my preparation and planning well,” said Reet, whose father is a former athlete and now a professor at the Panjab University physical education department. The Indian cycling contingent finished with 23 medals, including Reet’s silver medal.

She began with a standard bicycle on the road which took her to a bronze in the school nationals in Guwahati. Later, she participated in the junior nationals and ended at the sixth position in Kurukshetra from where she was called to Delhi to participate in the trials for the national team. Getting off the mark in the endurance category in wattbike cycling is what impressed the selectors at the Sports Authority of India. In 2019, Reet shifted to the SAI hostel in Delhi and has been training six hours daily ever since.

“Chandigarh did not have cycling training facilities, so moving to Delhi for extensive preparation was required. My father supported the idea of moving to Delhi to aim for a place in the Indian team,” added Reet, a student of Carmel Convent School.

Despite no indoor cycling track facilities in Chandigarh, Reet managed to make it to the national side. “My father and mother are the main coaches in my journey and their support is what led me to this moment,” said the young cyclist.

Reet’s zest to follow cycling was not hindered even during the pandemic. “The academy in Delhi was forced to close due to a lockdown and we were sent back. Our family also got infected, but my training was not hampered for more than 15 days as I was back on road peddling”, Reet added.

Now, Reet eyes a spot in the national team heading to the Track Cycling Junior World Championship in Israel in August.

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