Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi: Junior world champion Ronaldo Laitonjam and Triyash Paul stole the limelight as Indian cyclists totally dominated the opening day of the Track Asia Cup bagging 13 edals including five-old, at the Indira Gandhi Indoor stadium in New Delhi here on Monday.
It was the the world-class junior team stood up to the expectations and captured the gold in men’s junior team sprint event. The women’s junior and elite teams also shone and returned with two gold medals.
Ronaldo Laitonjam was the star as he won two gold medals. He first helped junior men’s team to win the gold in sprint event and then returned to finish the day with the yellow metal in the 1 KM time trial event at the Indira Gandhi Indoor stadium, New Delhi.
Triyasha Paul also won two gold medals. She first paired with Nikita Nisha to finish at the top of the podium in the junior women’s sprint event. They were so dominated in the race that the difference between the second finisher Kazakhstan pair was close to three seconds. Later, Paul won the time trial 500m event while Nisha won the silver to complete a 1-2 finish for India.
The day was made more memorable when Mayuri Lute of India’s second team Sports Authority of India National Cycling Academy (SAINCA) won the gold medal in women’s elite time trial 500m event.
The hosts began the day on a good note as Venkappa Kengalgutti and Elangbam Singh opened the medal tally by capturing the silver and bronze medal respectively in the men’s junior 10km Scratch Race. Uzbekistan’s Behzodek Rakhimbaev won the gold medal. Two more Indians — Ganesh Kudignaur and M Tanishq Gaur finished 10th and 11th respectively.
In the second session the women sprint event in which India were represented by Deborah and Aleena Reji won a bronze medal against Malaysia. The duo finiished the race with a timing of 35.941 seconds. The gold medal went to Indonesian pair of Crismonita Putri and Elga Kharisma Novanda (35.089 seconds) while the silver was captured by Hong Kong’s Yin Yin Li and Cho Yiu Yeung (35.701 seconds).
The first gold medal for the hosts was claimed by the trio of Rojit Singh Yanglem, Ronaldo Laitonjam and Paul Collingwood in the men’s junior sprint when they finished at the top with a timing of 46.337 seconds. Kazakshtan won the silver medal while Iran finished third on the podium. India had clinched the title in last year’s event as well.
The gold count was doubled when the women’s junior sprint team of Triyasha Paul and Nikita Nisha. The pair dominated the race and built a healthy lead before winning the race with a timing of 35.891 seconds while Kazakshtan’s pair of Kristina Titovskaya and Akpeiil Ossim won the silver medal with a timing of 38.559 seconds. Thailand won the bronze medal with a timing of 38.987 seconds.
The medal rush did not end there. In the team sprint event of men’s elite category, Indian trio of Esow Elben, Jemsh Keithellakpa and Sandeep Kumar won a bronze medal with a timing of 46.170 seconds. The gold medal in the category was won by Thailand while the silver went to Kazakhstan. Iran captured the other bronze medal.
The Thailand team compromising of Jai Angsuthaswai, Worayul Kapunya and Jaturong Niwanti clocked 46.306 seconds. Team Kazakhstan of Viktor Golov, Bogdon Ruder and Temirkhan Siazbekov finished with a timing of 47.260 seconds.
In the women’s event of 4 KM team pursuit, India came agonisingly close of winning the gold medal as they finished with a timing of 4:14.864 minutes but that was marginally slower than Malaysia which won the gold medal with a timing of 4:14.534 minutes. The United Arab Emirates and Iran won the two bronze medals in the event.
Then the Ronaldo show began as he showed why he is class above the rest winning the gold medal in the time trial event with a timing of 1:03.288 minute. The silver medal winner Sina Karimian of Iran was well behind at 1:08.879 minute. The bronze medal also went to India as Gurpreet Singh finished third with a timing of 1:09.104 minute.
Elangbam Singh almost made a perfect day for India with a silver-medal finish in the 15 KM Points Race. He fell short of the gold medal winning Uzbekistan rider Rakhimobaev. The Indian had 22 points while the Uzbek finished with 36 points.
The only event in which India did not medal was the women’s junior 7.5km scratch race. SAINCA’s Swasti and Chayanika Gogoi narrowly missed out on finishing on podium after finishing fourth and fifth in the race.