Women's team keeps India in hunt for a medal; Kaur loses battle for bronze

India’s Jashanjit Kaur missed out on a bronze medal when she lost to Kazakhstan’s Yekaterina Yuraitis by 1.04 seconds in the 2km individual pursuit in the Hero Asian Cycling Championship at the Indira Gandhi Velodrome here on Friday.

However, the women’s junior team made up for the lacklustre day by keeping India in hunt for a bronze medal in the Team Pursuit.

At the end of the second day, the Koreans were leading the medals tally with five gold, two silver and one bronze.

They were followed by Hong Kong (4-2-0) and Malaysia (2-2-2) in that order. India, with a lone bronze, are placed ninth.

Deborah, who won the bronze medal in 500m junior cycle event on Thursday, along with Bidhyalaxmi Devi, N Geeturaj and Jashanjit would fight it out for the third place on Saturday. The race starts with four riders and finishes with three.

Indian team manager S Radhakrishnan was satisfied with the performance of the girls. “We had been preparing for the endurance event (changed from three to four km by UCI only last month) as per old rules. But the girls have surprised one and all,” he said. Deborah said they would do their best to win the medal. “We had confidence and it helped us to clock a good timing. We have a good team and we will do our best to get the medal for the country.”

Deborah would have another chance to add to her tally in the championships when she participates in the junior sprint event (3 km). India’s best performance in the championships has been a silver medal in 2005 when they hosted the championships in Ludhiana.

She will take on Malaysia’s Farihah Sha in the semifinals and the vanquished will fight for the bronze medal with the loser of the other semifinal.

Meanwhile, Jashanjit hoped to improve from her maiden stint in an international race. The 16-year-old, who trains at NIS Patiala, clocked 2.41.024 seconds to fall behind Yekaterina who recorded 2.40.395 seconds. “I was leading till the sixth lap, so I am not disappointed. This was my first international race, so personally I am satisfied. But I need to improve from here. My opponent was really good,” said the 12th class student of Yadvindra Public School from Patiala, who finished fourth.

“We match the foreign cyclists in equipment, but with good coaching we can give better results. In case of most of the foreign opponents, their coaches cheer them and shout instructions from the sidelines after every round. In our case, we get to know our mistakes once we are through with the race.”

The gold medal went to Hong Kong’s Yao Pang (2:34.534) while the silver was won by Yi Ju Lin (2:39.880) of Chinese Taipei.

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