Indian cyclists to compete at Asian Games without mechanics

November 1st, 2010 - 8:58 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 1 (IANS) Indian cyclists, who recently got brand new bikes before the Commonwealth Games, will be competing in the upcoming Asian Games without the services of a full-time mechanic.

Cycling is a high-speed sport and in case of a malfunction or an accident, the 13-member team will have to troubleshoot on their own.

The riders are currently training in New Delhi ahead of the Nov 12-27 event.

Foreign coach Graham Seers said travelling to any big tournament without mechanics is a risky proposition.

“International cyclists ride at a speed of 70-80 kmph and at that speed a sudden crash is very much a possibility. The cyclists wear protective gear but what about the expensive bikes. If the bikes break down, then there is nobody to repair them,” Seers told IANS.

Seers, an Australian and coming from a land which is home to the world’s best cyclists, said that two mechanics are essential to be with the team at all times.

“I understand that cycling in India is at its initial stages but having a mechanic, masseur and a doctor are the basic needs of every team,” he said.

When asked whether he informed the Sports Authority of India (SAI) about the matter, Seers said: “I have already discussed with SAI. No one has been appointed till now.”

A SAI official, however, said the team management never placed a request for a mechanic.

“It is not a big thing. It will be foolish to compare our facilities with the stronger cycling nations. Though, we were never told about the need for a mechanic, I am sure the coaches would be able to address the problem,” an SAI official told IANS on condition of anonymity.

India could not win a cycling medal at the Delhi Games but Seers is confident of a better performance at Guangzhou.

“The competition was of the highest level at CWG. It will be a touch easier in China. Mahita (Mohan) came really close to a medal in Delhi. I hope that she crosses the line this time,” he said.

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