The only person unable to applaud Madhura Waykar’s dominant performance to gold in the U-21 Girls Time Trial was her Father Chandrakant Waykar, miles away in Mumbai. And so, that was the first call she made the moment the results were announced as her mother accepted the high fives of the Maharashtra contingent.
“Of course I had to call him first! So many mornings he has spent with me in training,” she says, “so many early mornings… me on a cycle and him on a bike on the roads of Mumbai…”
Waykar, a resident of Shivaji Park, Dadar, consults Kerman Framna her coach in Pune and uses the suggested schedule to practice in Mumbai. Why the early mornings? “Because it is impossible to practice on those roads at any other time of the day! And there is no velodrome, so we have to make do with what we have to,” she laughs.
“Every since she was a kid, she has been hyperactive,” her mother Mridula says, “when she was much younger she would get into fights in the park because of this. The first opportunity we got we drove her to sport.” Waykar started cycling at the age of eleven, after a multisport path that took her from swimming to triathlons to the track till finally, her parents forced her to choose a discipline and stick to it.
From there on an upward curve drew itself. Waykar was part of the Junior Asian Track Cycling Championship in 2017 and won the national titles in 2016 and 2017. She finished third in her first time on in the Senior category at the 2019 Nationals in the Time Trial, and was among the favourites for the title at the Khelo India Youth Games. Now she hopes her performances will draw her back into contention for the India camp.
The 20-year-old is BA English literature student at Guru Nanak Khalsa College and despite all the success she has on the cycle – like a typical parent – her mother wishes her child would keep to academics more proficiently. “She is a really good student” Mridula says, “And I like her cycling, I do, but sometimes I also wish she kept up with her studies more.”
Both parents acknowledge the sacrifices they have had to make to fulfill their only child’s talent. “Cycling isn’t a cheap sport. All her equipment, the bikes themselves cost a lot of money. We have sold a lot of things to meet our only child’s wishes”, Mridula says, nudging her daughter affectionately.
Waykar knows this too, and ensures that every time she gets on a bike she pays them back in gold. There are more races and medals coming up. She competes in the Mass start tomorrow, and then in the endurance events on the track to follow. “If things go the way I like them, if I wake up on time, my bike check goes smoothly, I’m well hydrated, then I get this feeling inside me. I know I will win. All I have to do is ride…” she signs off.