Q. Tell us about yourself. What inspires you to be a cyclist?
During my childhood, I love to play cricket, but it was always considered that cricket is meant for boys only. People use to make fun of me whenever I play cricket along with the boys and that’s how I gave up playing cricket. Like many children, I used to ride a bicycle. My uncle used to tell me about the benefit of cycling and with time I chose to be a cyclist.
I got selected in the Academy of Cycling Federation of India. My coach Anil Kumar has always supported and motivated me. During the competition, whatever position I get, he motivates me further to practice more and set up my next goal bigger. With his motivation and my hard work and determination, I am the first Gold Medalist girl from Ladakh in cycling.
Q. Could you brief about your achievements and journey till now as a cyclist?
I started my journey as a cyclist in 2016 when the Cycling Federation of India organised a cycle racing in Leh. I took part and stood 3rd position in 10km race. After a few months, I received a selection letter from the Academy of Cycling Federation of India. I joined there and my training started as a road cyclist in the beginning. In January 2018, National Track Cycling Championship 2018 was organized by Cycling Federation of India at IGI Sports Complex New Delhi. I represented Jammu Kashmir in Time Trial achieving 0:42:006 sec in 500 meters on Cycling Velodrome and won the Gold medal for the first time.
I also won a bronze medal in the 24th National Road Cycling Championship in November 2019 held at Bikaner, Rajasthan. Apart from that, School Games Federation of India organised 64th National School Games Track Cycling Championship 2018-19 at Pune, Maharashtra in which I won Gold Medal each in Time Trial and Team Sprint. Likewise, I won 2 Gold Medal in 65th National School Games Track Cycling Championship 2019-20 at Pune.
Q. Share us about your routine training hours and what is your next plan?
We do road training of 80km daily at morning 5 am when there is no pollution or fog; otherwise we train in a track from 6 am till 9 am daily and likewise in the evening too. At present, I am preparing for the International Level championship for the next year.
Q. While participating at the national level, what kind of challenges you have faced?
At various competitions, many times I got nervous seeing other competitors who look fit and strong physically. Before every competition, I feel scared of losing the competition, what if I didn’t make it? What my parents will think about me? And will I be able to make my homeland proud? My coach has always supported and motivated me whenever I feel nervous before any championship and during the training. He advises me to concentrate only on my training and to break my own record. My family has always supported me, especially my mom.
My first time in the outdoor track was very challenging. I have participated under 16 at Jaipur, but due to the wind and uneven road surfaces, I fell several times but managed to complete the race securing 5th position. Scratches and wounds never deterred me from participating in the next competition, rather it made me stronger.
Speaking about financial challenges, I had to buy a bicycle worth more than ₹2 Lakh for the championship. My competitors representing other states always get financial support from their states they have funds to buy racing kits. I received nothing from our state authority; I have struggled for the license and bought all the necessities and cycle with my own expenses.
Q. Share your experience while participating at National Track Cycling Championship 2018.
It was an unbelievable experience when I won Gold for our state at the national level. I was not much trained during that time. In November, I got the track cycle and after less than 2 months, I practice with the new feature cycle and on January 2 the championship started and my hard work pays off.
Q. Tell us about the current sport's status in Ladakh? How to improve?
Nowadays we have good sportsperson including both men and women representing at national and international level in different sports. Sports like football, volleyball, ice-hockey and many more have increased a good number of participants. Now the authorities should stress on the further development of facilities in sports and prepare funds to those who are playing outside Ladakh representing our region.
My request to all the parents out there, Please don’t stress out your child on academics only rather know their capabilities in sports and support them.
Message to the reader
“Dear girls, don’t give up playing sports you love. If you fall, try it one more time, you are not fragile.”