World Junior Champion Ronaldo Singh Laitonjam on Wednesday became the first Indian cyclist to win a silver medal in the senior category after finishing second in the sprint event on the final day of the Asian Track Championship here.
This was his third medal in the championship. Earlier, he had won bronze medals in 1Km Time Trial and Team Sprint events.
In the world class field, the Indian Cycling team finished their campaign by winning 23 medals including 2 gold, 6 silver and 15 bronze in the Championships which is the best-ever performance of any Indian Cycling contingent.
Ronaldo gave a tough fight to Japan''s experienced rider Kento Yamasaki but finished with a silver. Yamasaki defeated Ronaldo in back-to-back two races to finish at the top of the podium. Kazakhstan''s Andrey Chugay won bronze in the event.
Earlier in the day, Ronaldo defeated Kazakhstan''s Andrey Chugay in the semifinal. Ronaldo lost the first race but bounced back to win the next two races to storm into the final.
After settling the silver on his birthday, Ronaldo said, "Gold was in my mind but I''m also happy with the first ever Silver, this is the best ever performance of my career and in every tournament I improved my technique, this is most important and with the blessings of my family, I achieved it."
Indian Junior Cyclist Birjit Yumnam added one more bronze for himself as well for India. He secured 23 points in 15km Points Race of Men Junior category and was unlucky by 1 point to grab the silver as his opponent from Korea Sungyeon Lee secured 24 points for the same. Gold was won by Farrukh Bobosherov of Uzbekistan.
A big surprise of the day was when 19-year-old Chayanika Gogoi opened the Indian tally with bronze over Kazakhstan''s favourite Rinata Sultanova in 10km Women Scratch Race finals. Youri Kim won gold while Kie Furuyama of Japan clinched Silver.
Chayanika Gogoi expressed her happiness at winning the medal. She said, "I never missed my training and was very glad that the hard work paid off. My sole aim is to represent and win medals for the country."
The final day witnessed exuberant performances on the Velodrome with finals of 10 events taking place. However, there were a handful of crashes too but the pain was all erased in the enthusiasm of the cyclists.
Japan topped the medal tally with 18 gold, 7 silver and 2 bronze medals in the 41st Senior & 28th Junior Asian Track & 10th Para Track Cycling Championships held at IGI Sports Complex here.
Korea finished second with 12 gold, 14 silver and 3 bronze medals while Kazakhstan secured third place with 4 gold, 4 silver & 3 bronze.
At the end of championships, delighted Maninder Pal Singh, general secretary of Cycling Federation of India said, "We started off as the underdogs but we performed more than what was expected from us. He further added that when your athletes start winning medals at the international arena, then every one''s heart says "Ye dil maange more". I''m happy with the commendable show of our athletes and in the 2022 Commonwealth Games, I''m confident that our athletes will surely give a tough fight to opponents."
( 557 Words)