Indian para-athletes put up a brilliant performance to secure one silver and two bronze at the Asian Road Para-Cycling Championships 2019 that saw 28 countries vying for the podium at Tashkent, Uzbekistan from April 23-28. Divij Shah continued his remarkable record at this prestigious tournament by clinching his third consecutive silver medal in the C5 category.
“Feels great to have retained the silver position for the third time. A lot of hard work needs to go in to cover up the gap to get the gold. I have received tremendous support from Cycling Federation of India and Aditya Mehta Foundation to make it to the top,” said an elated Shah on his achievement.
Asian Para Games bronze medallist Gurlal Singh, who is the only Indian cyclist (able-bodied or otherwise) to win a medal at the Asian Games level, helped swell India’s medal tally further by grabbing the bronze in the C4 section. Hand cyclist Sudhakar Marathe from Maharashtra made a debut to remember when he bagged the bronze medal in H5 category.
Marathe, who suffered a train accident in June 2017, had been training for only six months before he got an opportunity to don the Indian jersey.
The 9-member Indian para-athlete squad included 4 border security force para-athletes: Para-cyclists Harinder Singh (Punjab), Gurlal Singh (Punjab), Kaigoulal, and Hand-cyclist Sudhakar Marathe (Maharashtra), and 1 central reserve police force para-cyclist, Birbhadra Singh.
Along with the soldiers, 3 civilians - Prashant Arkal (Maharashtra), Divij Shah (Andhra Pradesh) and Arshad Shaikh (Andhra Pradesh) were also part of the team.
In the past two years, the Indian contingent has won a silver and a bronze medal in each edition through Divij Shah and Harinder Singh respectively.
The entire team had undergone rigorous training at the Aditya Mehta Foundation Academy in Hyderabad under the guidance of coach K Dathatraye and physiotherapist Ms Asha Shaikh.