Indian para cyclists eye rich haul at Asian Championships

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Naypyidaw (Myanmar), Feb 7 (IANS) The Indian squad will aim to repeat their feat of securing all three podium finishes at the Asian Para-Cycling Championships which start at the Wunna Theikdi Sport Stadium here on Friday.

Led and inspired by Aditya Mehta, India had annexed all the three medals on offer in the 12 kilometre event during last year’s edition in Bahrain.

Abhishek Shekhu pocketed the gold, Divij Shah another silver while Harinder Singh the bronze to make it an all-Indian affair.

“We have been preparing for this championship for a long time. It was a well regimented, planned training that should make us favourites this year too,” Aditya Mehta, who is also the coach of the Indian para-cycling team, said before leaving for Myanmar.

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“The Cycling Federation of India (CFI) has approved all our requests and has been really supportive,” he added.

In Myanmar the Indian team will be represented by last year’s medallists Divij Shah and Harinder Singh. Kaigoulal, who returned empty-handed last year will give it one more shot this year.

Fresh entrant Gurlal Singh is also expected to be a strong contender after showing great promise at the trials and practice sessions.

Meanwhile, the Indian contingent will also field a strong duo in hand cycling, with the duo of Madhu Bagri, a former national wheelchair tennis champion who has shifted her focus to para-cycling after AMF’s Infinity ride in 2017, and Prashant Arkal accompanying her in leading the charge at the Championships.

“We are in top shape and feel really confident as we go into the tournament. I personally will look to change the colour of my medal from silver to gold this time,” a confident Divij Shah said.

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