New cycling chief seeks ministry`s help

Updated: Jun 27, 2011, 19:00 PM IST

New Delhi: Parminder Singh Dhindsa, the new president of the Cycling Federation of India (CFI), Monday sought financial help from the sports ministry to build more velodromes across India and promised to make the sport more accessible.

Dhindsa took over the reins of cycling`s apex body from father and veteran politician Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, who stepped down last month after staying at the helm for almost 18 years.

Dhindsa, also public works minister in the Punjab government, was elected unopposed along with Onkar Singh and Bani Ghosh, who were named secretary general and treasurer, respectively, at CFI`s annual general meeting Sunday.

The 38-year-old said his priority is to take cycling to the grassroots level.

"I believe there is a lot of scope for cycling in this country. In the next six months, I will personally get in touch with states to introduce the sport in government schools with basic cycles," Dhindsa said.

"But as you know the federation can do little without the support of the sports ministry. We are committed to help the cyclists with equipment at the state and national level but building a velodrome is something in which we seek financial support," said Dhindsa referring to the lack of velodromes in the country with only seven states having the facility.

Indian cyclists failed to make an impact at the Commonwealth and Asian Games but the sport got a fillip thanks to the government funding. The riders went on exposure trips to Australia and Japan.

Dhindsa said he would ensure the team is sent out for training regularly.

"We are aiming to do well at the Asian level to start with. It won`t be easy with the presence of strong cycling nations like China and Japan but the results could be achieved with proper training including overseas trips," he said.

IANS