Silver lining for India as Korea top

New Delhi, March 12 -- India picked up two silver medals to swell their tally to four on the final day of the track event in the Hero Asian Cycling Championships at the IG Stadium on Monday. The honour of enhancing the medal count went to India's young female riders, as none of the male team members could live up to expectations in the continental event.

In the morning session, Deborah, an upcoming rider from Andaman & Nicobar Islands, claimed silver in sprint in the junior women's section. Later, it was the turn of Manorama Devi to power her way to the podium in the Keirin event.

In the Keirin event, a motorcyclist controls the race for the first five laps with all riders following him. Thereafter, the biker leaves the track for the cyclists to complete the eight-lap race.

Manorama, whose first love is football, narrowly beat Korean rider Yonhee Jang. The gold went to Shiou Yu Cheng of Chinese Taipei. At the bell, both the Indians - Deborah and Manorama - were placed last, but when it mattered most, the 16-year-old from Manipur showed the grit to leave the Koreans and Malaysians behind.

Earlier in the day, Deborah made history by winning the first individual silver for India, losing to Korea's Yeonhee Jang in sprint event.

The Koreans topped the table with 26 medals including 12 gold, seven silver and seven bronze. Malaysia were second with seven gold, three silver and six bronze. India finished ninth with two silver and two bronze.

After a rest day, action will shift to the Buddh International circuit in Greater Nodia for the road races.

Meanwhile, the International Cycling Union is contemplating giving more international events, including the World Cup and World Tour race to India.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.