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Friendly bailout on track

- State cycling outfit taps contacts to get racing gear

Jharkhand Cycling Association (JCA) has proved that when the push comes to the shove, it is no pushover.

The state outfit has overcome mighty hurdles to take part in the National Track Cycling Championship in New Delhi from December 24-28.

Through sheer resourcefulness, the JCA has pulled off a coup. Tapping personal contacts, the outfit has managed to cobble together four racing cycles — from places as diverse as Australia and Rajasthan — for the prestigious national tie.

“We wanted Punjab cyclists to lend us their gear, but response was negative. So we got imaginative,” said JCA secretary Satbir Singh Sahota.

So, Maharashtra-based cyclist Prasad Khairnar, who pedalled for Jharkhand in the 34th National Games, and who was requested to arrange racing gear from Punjab but couldn’t, will now chip in with his own. He is sending his racing cycle for Jharkhand to New Delhi with the Maharashtra team.

Dhanbad cyclist Naveen Kumar will also lend his track racing cycle. Like all Jharkhand cyclists, his gear is in bad shape with worn-out tyre tube and sprockets, but those will be repaired in New Delhi.

Third, former Bihar junior national cyclist Nousherwan Mistry (35), born in Jamshedpur and now a Sydney resident, is bringing his racing cycle from Down Under. Mistry, landing in New Delhi on December 19, will pedal for Jharkhand and also bring extra spares for the team from Australia.

Fourth, Rajasthan Cycling Association assistant secretary Krishna Purohit will lend a track racing cycle.

Sahota said when all was lost, “good friends” saved the day. “I thank Khairnar, Mistry, Purohit and Kumar,” he said. “Now, according to tourney rules, we can send two individual players from Jharkhand. We are trying to get more racing gear to send a four-member team, too.”

The outfit will hold its selection trials in early December.

The state sports department, which bizarrely prefers locking up gear worth lakhs to handing them over to cyclists for the much-needed practice, has let out one solitary squeak.

“I will speak to the department secretary about the release of equipment to the JCA,” said sports director Sant Kumar Verma. Watch this space.

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