Winning a medal made me feel like I was made for India, reveals Esow Alben

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Winning a medal made me feel like I was made for India, reveals Esow Alben

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SportsCafe Desk

03/07/2019

Indian junior cyclist Esow Alben has revealed that winning the silver medal at the Junior Track Cycling World Championships in Switzerland made him feel like he was made to race for India. Andaman Nicobar-born Esow became the first rider from India to win a world championship medal in cycling.

17-year old Esow Alben scripted history by winning India’s first junior cycling World Cup medal in the men’s Kerin event of the 2018 UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships. The cycling was held in Aigle, Switzerland last year and saw Alben secure the silver medal with a timing that was only 0.17 seconds behind that of the gold medallist, Jakub Stastny of the Czech Republic.

"I was very happy but would have been happier to win gold. I became the first Indian to do so (win a world championships medal). I received a lot of messages. Our sports minister (Rajyavardhan Singh) Rathore sir also congratulated me. It made me feel I am made for India," Esow said in a recent exclusive interview with TOI.

The result of his consistent run saw Esow become the World No.1 in Men's Sprint and Keirin on the UCI Rankings for juniors. As a team, India is ranked No. 1 for both the events in the junior category.

The young Islander credits his mother for helping him recognize his potential at a very young age. Esow’s mother was involved in sports in her childhood and she didn't just support Esow but also guided him. His mother enrolled him at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre at the Netaji Stadium in Port Blair.

"When she bought me my first bike, she told me that cycling is also a sport and I can pursue it. She supported me, because she used to be a sportsperson as well but couldn't pursue it because there were no quality coaches in Andaman at that time. She was a kabaddi player and was good in athletics too.

"When I started training to be a cyclist, I used to get very tired. I would then lie down on the terrace of my house, look at the sky and tell myself that I have to do something for India. That thought still gives me strength," Esow added.

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