Govt apathy mars Kashmir cyclist’s future

He carries a bundle of certificates along with him. He has won over 30 state level competitions. He is young and dynamic. He believes he can do wonders for the state provided he is laced with an ‘International Cycle’.

While carrying a bag full of certificates with him he flips through pages of his portfolio file to show what laurels he has brought to the state in cycling. Muhammad Akbar Khan is proud to say that he is the only cyclists from Kashmir valley who has won over 30 gold medals so far in different competitions held in the state.

Khan a resident of Chek Kawoosa, a small hamlet in Magam, is pursuing his Bachelors degree from Amar Singh College. In his twenties, Khan has won many championships so far.

From past three he continues to dominate his supremacy in the annual college race of Amar Singh College and this year also he bagged the ‘gold medal’ by securing the first position in the inter college race.

Khan eyes and dreams big, he feels he can do much better at any national or international forum but the only thing that mars his chances to reach there is that he doesn’t have a cycle of ‘International Standard’ by which he can defeat his opponents.

“Whatever I have achieved till date is because of my hard work. I feel I can do more but I need an international racing cycle so that I can be at par with other national and international players,” says Khan.

A young student, Khan recently cruised to victory in the 2nd JK Bank-Magpie Kashmir Cycling Challenge held from Habak Naseem Bagh to Nun Kun Park at the Boulevard.

“In the closely fought event only that competitor would finish ahead of rest who has got extra energy, power at later stage. It was close finish and only due superior physical strength I was able to finish ahead of other racers,” Khan recalls about his recent triumph wherein he completed a 12-kilometre event in 19 minutes only.

With this win Khan cemented his place as the top rider of the State after winning back to back events.

Khan opines that the state government does nothing to promote his favorite game in the state and government has hardly taken any step on the ground to promote cycling in the state.

“I represented my state in many national level championships but could get any gold medal for my state. Later on I tried to solve the mystery as to where and why I am lagging behind, the only reason that I found was that they are well equipped and their government provides them the equipments free of cost which is contrary as compared to our state,” says Khan.

Khan has trained over sixty youngsters of his village in the cycling. He every morning holds classes for the youngsters and makes them to run over 20kms every day on the national highway from Magam via Narbal to Srinagar.

Every morning a chain of cycles running on the national highway can be seen sweating out hard for the cycling practice. The long chain is led by Khan himself who wants to produce more cyclists for his state, but a thing that haunts him the most is if the state government’s attitude towards this game remains adamant he may have to quit the game in near future.

“I am working very hard to achieve something. My villagers praise me for engaging the youngsters in this sport. I feel humbled when I see young guns getting lured to this sport. But what is ironical is in a state like Jammu and Kashmir this sport has little to offer,” says the dejected cyclist, adding, the government instead of raising the infrastructure of football or cricket should now focus on promoting the other games too.

In the year 2011, Khan bagged two gold medals by participating in the national cycling championship which was held in Kashmir valley but to his utter shock a brawl between the president and general secretary of the cycling association marred his chances to become a ‘National Champion’ and the medals are still pending with the ‘split association’.

“I appeal the government and the authorities of the Amar Singh College to do something for me. If they will finance for an international racing cycle I will definitely revert back with any achievement very soon,” the careworn Khan replied.