New Delhi, March 6: The arrival of the Iranians for the Hero Asian Cycling Championships has infused fresh life besides bringing in a greater competitive edge to the continental event which gets underway at the Indira Gandhi Complex Velodrome here Thursday.
Asian cycling giants Iran, who have two-time Asian Tour leader Mehdi Sohrabi in their ranks, were doubtful starters for the event because of visa issue which was sorted out only Tuesday night.
The organisers Cycle Federation of India (CFI) have heaved a big sigh of relief after the arrival of seven Iranians and are looking forward to an exciting championship. Iran’s remaining contingent is expected to reach Delhi by Saturday.
The track event will be held at the Indira Gandhi Complex velodrome before the cyclists move to the Buddh International Circuit for road races beginning March 13.
Besides Iran, China, Hong Kong and Korea are expected to win bulk of the medals.
The challenge of the 45-member strong Indian contingent will mainly depend on Bikram Singh, Amarjit Singh, C. Rajesh and Amrit Singh, who will be keen to prove that their qualification for the second successive World Championships was not a fluke.
Junior rider Deborah and Mahita Mohan are India’s best bet in the women’s competition.
The spotlight would be on 19-year-old Tsunami survivor Deborah, who will compete in the concurrently scheduled Asian Juniors.
India is hosting the Asian Championships for the third time after 2005 (Ludhiana) and New Delhi (1989).