Asian Mountain Bike Championships to be held from Thursday

In all around 250 cyclists from 20 countries will be taking part in the four-day event which will serve as selections for Paris Olympics

October 25, 2023 07:15 pm | Updated 07:15 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

The misty hills and picturesque surroundings provide a stunning view of Ponmudi, a hill station, on the outskirts of the city, the venue of the 28th Senior & 14th Junior Asian Mountain Bike Championship, which will begin on Thursday.

However, the newly laid track, which has been set up at a private tea estate will confound even the best of riders. The bumpy and steep climb on the pebble strewn track for the uphill cross country event will be unforgiving and will test the riders’ endurance.

The downhill route, riddled with obstacles and bunkers through narrow alleys, will be challenging. The event which also serves as the selection for the Paris Olympics has attracted top riders and teams from Asia.

China, Japan, Uzbekistan and South Korea the traditional powerhouse in Asian Cycling have come in full strength. China arrived sufficiently early to acclimatise to the conditions.

The 16-member Chinese team has been undergoing rigorous training at the venue for the last five days and will have a little advantage over other teams.

Chinese coach Yi Jian expressed confidence that his team will do well on this track. “The track is a bit tough with long climbs and steep inclines and riders will have to be skillful to manoeuvre the tough terrain. I am confident we will do well,” he said.

The Indian team has been camping and training at the venue for the last one month under coach Kiran Raju, the four-time national champion. However, Indian cyclists will face a daunting task as a majority of them will be taking part in an event of this magnitude for the first time.

In all around 250 cyclists from 20 countries will be taking part in the four-day event. Down hill, cross country, cross country eliminator and cross country team relay are the events which will be held.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan formally inaugurated the tournament on Wednesday evening.

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