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Cycling’s golden girl pedals back to small town for big push

Pranita Sonam is moving back to Sangamner to train for the MTB Asia championship

pune Updated: Sep 27, 2017 17:20 IST
Ashish Phadnis
Ashish Phadnis
Hindustan Times, Pune
golden girl,pedals back,Cycling
Pranita Soman at the Giant Starkenn’s 14th MTB national meet.(HT PHOTO)

Sportspersons shift their base to bigger cities for better facilities, better training and other support systems. However, with 17-year-old cyclist Pranita Soman it is the other way round.

Pranita, who basically hails from Sangamner, moved to Pune to excel in cycling. Despite getting 87%  in her SSC exams, she opted for Commerce so she could give more time to cycling. Her merit earned her admission in BMCC and she started training with Raju Bhapkar in Pimpri. However, things didn’t go well as per her expectations and she moved back to her native place to train. “My focus is completely on cycling. So I was looking for a course which would give me ample time for training. However, I realised it wasn’t possible with BMCC as I was busy with classes. So I decided to shift back to Sangamner and I took admission in Premraj Junior College. They have allowed me to attend the college occasionally, so I am able to devote time for training,” said Pranita.

The young cyclist recently won four gold medals for Maharashtra in the Giant Starkenn’s 14th MTB National Championship organised by Cycling Federation of India. Considering the lone silver medal she won last year, the rider has made tremendous progress within 12 months.

“Last year, I was new to MTB. It was more of a learning process for me. This time, I underwent serious training. I tackled several climbs in and around Pune and focussed on strength training. As a result, I was way ahead of other participants during the selection trials. Even some quality tips by our coach Biru Bhojane during the Maharashtra camp also helped me a lot,” said Pranita.

Pranita’s golden achievement at the MTB National 2017 (HT PHOTO)

Pranita’s father Praful is a doctor by profession but never forced his daughter to pay attention to academics. In fact, he took the initiative to select the best options for Pranita’s career in cycling.

“I won my first race at the age of 14. Then after winning a couple of other races, my father bought me a geared bicycle. He is always there to support me in every decision. He reads about latest technologies, techniques in cycling and passes the knowledge to me. Even coming back to Sangamner was his idea. I don’t think any other parent would have allowed their daughter to leave a college like BMCC for cycling,” said Pranita.

Small setback

Though mountain biking is Pranita’s first preference, she also participates in road races. She has impressed with her performance in the Pune – Baramati race, twice. However, she suffered a little setback last November, when she met with an accident in Uttar Pradesh. During road race event she miscalculated a turn and crashed against a divider. Though the injury wasn’t serious, she was forced to withdraw from the tournament. Now, she is preparing for the state road race trial selection to be held in Nashik. Her aim is to win an international medal and her recent success in the MTB meet would definitely earn her a berth in the Indian team for the upcoming Asian MTB championship to be held in Indonesia.

First Published: Sep 26, 2017 23:01 IST