Delay in getting new cycles helping Indian riders: Coaches

New Delhi: The delay in procuring new cycles could turn out to be a blessing in disguise for Indian riders as their coaches feel training on old cycles has worked to their advantage ahead of next month`s Commonwealth Games here.

The team has been funding its own cycles and awaiting for new equipments for the past three years which are to be delivered by September 20.

Cycling Federation of India officials say the team`s performance in the Games would be adversely affected if there is any more delay in getting the equipment.

"Even though our preparation is going well, our chances, frankly speaking, are not very bright. The cyclists have been practising on their own for the last three years. They have been using their own cycles. And we are not going to get the new cycles before September 20, so our practise is always hindered," said CFI`s Sports manager Dipender Singh Rathore.

On the other hand, terming the delay as a boon, Australian coach of the team Graham Seers said, "The delay is not a hindrance. Instead, it will help us."

"Practising on older bikes will help us train better and harder and when the new bikes are here, we will be ready to face any situation."

Agreeing with Seers, the head coach of the team, Chayan Chowdhury said, "The delay is not a problem for the team. We have been practising well here in Patiala and we are hopeful."

"It is not as though the team is practising on bad cycles. Only thing different is that the new cycles will be better ones," added the woman coach of the team, Ruma Chattopadhyay.

She also said the team does not require more than seven days to get used to the new cycles.

Seers has been coaching the Indian team for the past 14 months and he believes the players are improving.

"The cyclists have been training very hard for the past 14 months and things have improved quite a bit. We have good cyclists such as Sombir, Vinod (Malik), Mahita and Rameshwari with us," Seers said, adding that the timings of the players have improved.

Already dealing with injuries and illness, the Indian team has to prepare on its own to face the likes of Australia who are among the top five teams in the world.

"Look, for the past few years there has been huge improvement in the team`s timings and we are hopeful. Our team is as good as any Asian team but European teams are another matter," Chattopadhyay said.

"We have to put on a good show for our Indian supporters. We do not want to disappoint them," added Chayan Chowdhury, head coach of the team.

Seers believes the toughest competition for India will come from Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain.

"India`s main competitors will be Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain which are among the world`s best. Next will be Malaysia," he said.

"Australia will probably win the cycling event. You have to understand the team has been working and training for the past 50 years whereas we have been practising for the past 14 months only," the coach said.

The coaches believe the Indians have a chance of winning the team event.

"Two cyclists who will be participating in team sprint event in the women`s section have the chance of winning. Two cyclists between Mahita Mohan, Rameshwari Devi and Rejini V will be be chosen for this event and we are sure to win it," said Chattopadhyay.

"There is a chance for our cyclists to win the group event," Chowdhury added.

PTI

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