Tsunami survivor India’s medal hope at Asian Cycling Championships

New Delhi, Feb 20: Tsunami survivor Deborah is making rapid strides in cycling and has emerged as one of India’s best bet in the Asian Championships scheduled here March 7-17.

Deborah, 17, had to take shelter in a forest after the tsunami hit Car Nicobar island in 2004. Her family managed to get things back on track and she soon she took up cycling, a sport she says is popular in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Fast forward to 2013, she is the reigning junior national champion in time trial besides securing a silver in the senior class. The Asian Championships will be her first international event and she is expected to win a medal in the junior category.

“I have been training hard at the velodrome here for the last eight months. I am really looking forward to competing in the Asian Championships,” said Deborah.

Asked about the fateful morning in 2004, she said: “All my family ran to the forests and stayed there for many days. By the time we returned, our small house was destroyed.”

Clearly, she has taken the disaster in her stride and will be gunning for a medal.

In the senior category, O. Bikram Singh, Amarjeet Singh and Amrit Punia can spring a surprise. They are currently taking part in the World Championships in Belarus.

Besides them, the large Indian contingent is expected to make the numbers in championship likely to dominated by the likes of China, Iran and Japan. Pakistan has also confirmed their participation.

According the a Cycle Federation of India statement, the event has already attracted 765 entries from 28 countries.

The road races will be conducted in and around the Formula 1 venue, Buddh International Circuit, while all track events at the velodrome of Indira Gandhi Stadium.

India is hosting the Asian Championships for the third time after 2005 (Ludhiana) and New Delhi (1989).

IANS