Photo Feature of the 2021 Track Nationals by Jonas Spinoy, as he spent his time trackside which were held in Jaipur, Rajasthan in December…
Jonas shares a bunch of memories captured through his lens, from what he describes as gladiators in a Roman Arena!
My love for tracks started in January 2019, when the Jaipur Velodrome came alive with hundreds of athletes from all states for the Track Nationals Championship. Amongst them, we met a handful of super talented cyclists from the Indian Track Junior Team. They were training under Mr RK Sharma, in a newly developed Elite track program. Esow Alban, aged 17, at that time had already been making history, winning India’s first Cycling World Cup Medal. He along with team mates Ronaldo Singh, David Beckham & Rojit Singh, set the Tempo for one of the most thrilling 5 days of cycling I had ever seen.
Last week most of them (except Esow, who was out with injury) were back in Jaipur for the 73rd Track Nationals. This time the stadium was freshly painted and the track repaired. Thanks to the local “Team Rajasthan Road Riders” hard work and relentless efforts over the last couple of months, the velodrome looked absolutely stunning. Like a phoenix rising from its ashes. With the 5 day racing schedule happening over the Christmas holidays, I only got to see a few events.
My coach and ITT National Champion, Naveen John, was there to participate in the Individual Pursuit. A format with two cyclists starting the race on opposite sides of the track. Those qualifiers were nail biting. Ronaldo and David Beckham put on a great show once again, with spectacular sprint wins and new National Records. Unfortunately, this time I missed out on most of the women’s races. Which are as thrilling if not more than the Men’s.
It is exciting to think about the future of Indian Track Cycling. If the junior team continues to perform at international events, it will open up avenues and motivate younger athletes to follow in their footsteps. The sport needs champions to keep the velodromes alive. And for the first time this December, the Jaipur track felt like a Roman Arena.
Enjoy these captures from the 2021 track nationals…