Mahitha Mohan poses with her gold medal in Ranchi on Saturday. (Prashant Mitra)
Ranchi, Feb. 19: Had lady luck smiled on Jharkhand, the home team would have won their second bronze in cycling at the Sido Kanhu Velodrome today.
Jharkhand’s trio of Lakhan Hansda, Ram Kumar Bhatt and Khairnar Prasad lost to Kerala in the men’s team sprint in a photo finish, much to the disappointment of their supporters and officials.
Punjab’s Hitraj Singh, Gurbaj Singh and Amrit Singh walked home with the gold with a timing of 1:09.995 seconds while Atul Singh, Satbir and R.L. Manoj guided Services to bag silver with 1:11.988 seconds.
The home team picked their maiden National Games bronze in the men’s 1,500m team time trial yesterday, edging out Kerala in a close affair.
The southern team had the last laugh today. Jharkhand clocked 1:14.581 seconds, against 1:14.567 seconds recorded by Kerala.
“We almost made it but lost by a fraction of seconds. It was hard luck for the boys,” said Arjuna awardee Amar Singh, a guiding force for cycling in Jharkhand.
In the women’s sprint, Kerala claimed gold with 1:18.212 seconds on the clock. Manipur finished second with 1:19.346 seconds and Punjab got the bronze with 1:23.839 seconds.
The hosts failed to make any impression in the men’s one km and women’s 500m time trial finals with Navin Kumar Ram and P. Anita Devi finishing 13th and sixth. “It was a strong field. But it was a good experience for our cyclists,” said coach Arshad Khan.
Jharkhand had already failed to qualify for the men’s 4km and women’s 3km individual pursuit.
Though Jharkhand’s journey in track events has more or less ended with a lone bronze, there is hope for the road races, which kicks off on February 23.
The cyclists have a good track record in road races. The likes of Lakhan Hansda, Ram Kumar Bhatt, Dilip Mahto, Anita Devi and others have a chance to increase the medals tally in cycling.