Ronaldo Singh pedalled furiously and gathered pace in the men’s elite time trial (1km) event at the IG Sports Complex velodrome. The home cyclist was the last of the 10 competitors in action and widely cheered as he touched 58.254kmph and went past his competitors on the leaderboard finishing with bronze (of 1:01.798s) on Monday. It was India’s first international medal in the event and Ronaldo was ecstatic.
Yuta Obara of Japan won gold (1:01.118s) and Malaysia’s Mohammad Fadhil (1:01.639s) silver. Birjit Yumnam added another bronze for India in 10km Scratch race in the men’s junior category.
“To win a medal in this category is big for me. Of course, I was looking to go for the gold but I will take this,” said Ronaldo.
The time trial is not part of the Olympics programme but it is competed in all major events including at the world championships.
“We are taking one step at a time and a medal at the Asian Championships will boost us. We have started performing at the elite level. Next will be the world championships and Commonwealth Games. I want to go below 1 minute and go for a medal,” Singh said.
The team of Esow Alben, Rojit Singh, Ronaldo brought Indian cycling to international forefront with a historic gold medal in the team sprint at the 2019 World Junior Championships in Frankfurt. They will be looking to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
“That’s the dream – to take Indian cycling to the Olympics and win a medal,” said the 20-year-old. “We are the junior world champions in the team sprint and that is where we can qualify for the Olympics. We need to improve a bit and we have a good chance. Our ranking is hovering around 12th, we need to come to 8th.”
“When we started six, seven years ago, we were young. We have added to our skills and strength. We are now coming to the level of these international riders. We have the motivation and confidence that we can beat them.”