New Delhi, March 7 (IANS) Tsunai survivor Deborah brought India's first medal in the Asian Cycling Championships by winning a bronze in the 500 metre time trial at the Indira Gandhi velodrome here Thursday.
The girl from Andaman and Nicobar Islands clocked 37.841 seconds to finish behind Korea's Yeonhee Jang (37.159) and Taipei's Yu Shiou Cheng (37.834) in the junior category.
After the Korean girl had finished with an excellent timing, the odds were heavily stacked against the 19-year-old Indian as she had Yu Shiou Cheng to follow as the last and sixth rider.
Deborah got tripped by the tape at the release point but she was asked to get ready within no time. She took off reasonably well to gain momentum at the 50-metre mark. At the bell she had picked up good speed and pedalled her way to clock 37.841 to the cheers of her supporters.
"I went blank after I got tripped. I told myself to be calm so that I can cool my nerves even though I had to start immediately. After the first lap I know I was in with a chance to finish on the podium. I am happy I lived up to expectations," said Deborah.
With the effort, she became the only second Indian to win a medal in the Asian Championship.
In fact, it was Jashanjit Kaur who provided the spark that India needed on the opening day. The new kid on the wheels from Punjab made an impact in her maiden appearance in the high profile meet and could well add to the Indian medals tally Friday.
Competing in the 2km-Individual Pursuit, the 16 year-old kept herself within reach of a bronze medal.
Kaur will slug it out Friday with Yekaterina Yuraitis of Kazakhstan for the bronze medal while Hong Kong's Yao Pang and Yi Ju Lin will aim for the top podium finish.
Another bright spot for India on the day was Sunita Devi's performance. Though she could not finish among the medals, she bettered her previous best, clocked in the 2010 Games.
The day also saw Malaysian Muhammad Firdua, who won gold in the 1-km event, setting a new meet record at 1:05.758, an improvement of 54.746 seconds.