Pakistani cyclists await Indian visa for Asia Cup
New Delhi: The national cycling team of Pakistan is yet to get the visa for the Track Asia Cup, which starts in the Capital at the IG Velodrome on Friday.
The Pakistani contingent had got the visa last minute for the Asian Championships here in March 2013 and the trend is continuing this time.
"I am in touch with the Pakistan cycling officials. The Ministry of External Affairs has given its clearance and now they are waiting for the Home Ministry's clearance. There was doubt over Bangladesh's participation too but they have got the clearance," Onkar Singh, secretary general at the Cycling Federation of India, told PTI yesterday.
Overall, the organisers have received around 100 entries from Hong Kong, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan besides hosts India. The senior and junior events will be held concurrently.
Hosts India have pinned their medal hopes on Andaman and Nicobar cyclist Deborah and Amrit Singh.
The upcoming meet is a Class-I event as certified by the international federation, UCI, is important for all riders, more so to the Indian participants, as it will be held here in front of the home crowd.
Besides, it is also mandatory for those nationals aspiring to make it to the Olympics and World Championships to conduct one such event-track or road-every year to meet the eligibility criterion.
The first such opportunity for Indian cyclists also provides the rare opportunity of garnering vital points by medallists who, in turn, can help themselves and their countries qualify for the two major events.
National chief coach R K Sharma said how the month-long camp at the IG Velodrome has helped the riders to shape for the home event.
"Our riders are in good shape and confident of finishing among top of the podium. We have pinned our hopes on both Amrit Singh and Deborah to help Indian cycling to new heights. They have been very consistent," said Sharma.
Indian cyclists won a silver medal as recently as in the Bangkok Track event where both Deborah and Kezia Verghese had combined well.