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Marching Beyond Name, David Beckham cherishes LA 2028 Olympic dream

Young track cyclist David Beckham harbours a dream of representing India at 2028 LA Olympics after a remarkble show at the Asian Games in Hangzhou last year.

Marching Beyond Name, David Beckham cherishes LA 2028 Olympic dream

Track cyclist David Beckham competing at the Asian Games in Hangzhou in 2023. 


Pritish Raj

Published: 3 March 2024 6:11 AM GMT

New Delhi: Indian cyclist David Beckham has been popular among the fans due to two reasons - he is the namesake of global footballing superstar Beckham and due to his strong performance at the Asian Games in Hangzhou last year.

The 20-year-old cyclist from Andaman and Nicobar Islands put up a strong show at the Asian Games and became the first-ever Indian to enter the quarter-final of the men's sprint individual event.

He was also part of the Team Sprint event where the Indian team broke the national record and clocked under 45 seconds for the first time since 2019.

Talking about his performance and experience of competing at the Asian Games, Beckham told The Bridge, "It was my best performance ever. I was in top 8 there. I had never been to the top 8 in cycling. I was also the first Indian player to finish in the top 8."

"In the upcoming Asian Games, I'm determined to make it to the podium," he said with a child-like exuberance written all over his face.

After his transition from the junior team to the senior, Beckham has made a habit of breaking national records.

He was part of the team that broke the elite men's team sprint national record at the Asian Games. That record was smashed at the Asian Track Cycling Championships last week.

But Beckham is not too concerned about breaking records.

"I don't think much about the records. We just want to give our best and we produced our best time in the past as well. We were close to getting a medal (at the Asian Games), but we fell short," said Beckham.

The team comprising Rojit Singh, Ronaldo Singh, Esow Alben, and Beckham clocked 44.609 seconds at the Asian Games breaking the previous NR. They battered the mark at the Asian Championships with a timing of 44.451 seconds.

Transition from Junior to Senior

Beckham is now at the top of his game at the moment, but it has never been a seamless journey the young cyclist. Beckham had his share of struggles.

"It is easier at the junior level and thing get tougher at the senior level. There are so many competitors. There are Olympians. We should train more. They train differently from what we do. Senior-level training calls for different approach and method," he said.

"I had delivered a good performance at the junior level. When I moved up to the senior level, I struggled with my performance," he added.

Part of the Indian junior team that dominated the international competitions, Beckham and the whole team were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic as the events were either postponed or cancelled. The cyclists also faced hardships due to the lockdown imposed in the country.

"It was a tough time but we overcame it slowly. I improved my performances eventually and started winning medals," he said.

When he was at the phase of his transition the pandemic came. But with the help of his teammates, Beckham overcame the challenge.

Training under Kevin Sireau and LA 2028 dream

While the qualification window for the 2024 Paris Olympics is beyond the reach of the Indian cyclists, the focus of the athletes and federation remains on the 2028 LA Olympics.

"I can't go to the Paris Olympics because I don't have enough points," said Beckham.

Cycling Federation of India (CFI) appointed French rider Kevin Sireau as the new head coach for the sprint events. Kevin is a multiple Olympics and World Championships medallist.

Talking about working under the new coach, Beckham said, "It made a lot of difference. His training schedule and discipline are outstanding. He trains us in a very disciplined manner and that's a very good thing. It's great that we've improved so much. It is a great thing that we have grown so much."

The young rider has worked six weeks under the French coach and said his growing intensity has improved his performance manifold.

"The training is very intense, and Kevin always tells us during training, 'If you guys are tired in training, then what will you do in the competition?' He emphasizes the importance of working hard, stating, 'Work hard, and you will get the results," revealed Beckham.

With Sireau at the helm of coaching, Beckham sets his sights on the 2028 LA Olympics with an ambition to put Indian cycling on the global map.

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