METRO PLUS

Pedalling gloriously

ACE CYCLISTS (Left to right) SAAP Cycling Academy Chief Coach G. Chandra Reddy has tips for Mahender Reddy, B. Roopesh, Vijay Bhaskar Reddy and Dharm Teja

ACE CYCLISTS (Left to right) SAAP Cycling Academy Chief Coach G. Chandra Reddy has tips for Mahender Reddy, B. Roopesh, Vijay Bhaskar Reddy and Dharm Teja  

The Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh Cycle Academy located on the Osmania University campus may not be conspicuous to a passer-by. But the results produced by its trainees in a short period may make many to sit up and take notice of its amazing success.

The 28 medals won by its cyclists in the academy's five-year existence can be the envy of other projects in the country that hasn't been around too long.

Of the present set, the quartet of Mahender Reddy, B. Roopesh, Vijay Bhaskar Reddy and K. Dharm Teja seem to be the most promising ones . Not surprisingly, these boys were called to the Cycling Federation of India's (CFI) camps at Anandpur Saheb, Punjab and Shillaroo in Himachal Pradesh in summer in preparation for the Asian cycling championships at Ludhiana in December.

In the BSA Track National cycling championships at the SAAP velodrome last year, the above four pedalled away to the 1,500 m team time trial boys under-16 years event for gold, clocking a minute and 55.45 seconds. With the replacement of Mahender by K. Satish Kumar, the two kilometre boys' under-16 team pursuit was won in two minutes, 30.65 seconds, a new national record.

The 500m-time trial saw Vijay Bhaskar and Roopesh finishing first and second. Among the men, V. Srinu Kumar clinched the Olympic team sprint gold. The academy's chief coach, G. Chandra Reddy, worked on some of these achievers, when the latter were absolute newcomers- knowing precious little about the sport of cycling . The velodrome is a boon indeed he feels, for the boys train under his watchful eyes , almost right through the year, except when competing or attending the CFI's camps. With increased exposure the medal count can go up, Reddy believes. That their superiority is not restricted only to track cycling became evident during the national road cycling championships in Pune, which the above quartets won in style.

The academy's Administrator, Harish Mulay, monitors the diet for the boys, their training and ensures they do not lack anything that contributes to their performance and progress. With that in view, about a dozen cycles were recently procured for the academy, on which the trainees practise regularly.

A visit to the academy reveals an orderly set-up, neatly manicured lawns and well-maintained driveways. The velodrome, the grandstand-style gallery, the gleaming railings display a readiness to stage events such as last year's Nationals.

In the years to come, the academy should produce more champions as will the velodrome become a favoured venue for national and international action.

A. JOSEPH ANTHONY

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