Cycling is slowly gaining popularity in India and a lot of it has to do with the performance of the Indian cyclists at the world stage. The names of Esow Alben and Ronaldo Singh are etched quite firmly in the minds of the sports fans in the country, thanks to their brilliant performances in the field.
But, before the emergence of these youngsters as a force to reckon with, the Indian cycling was led by a woman named C. Rameshwori Devi.
Hailing from the state of Manipur, C. Rameshwori Devi was born in the year 1977. She was an avid sportsperson right from her childhood and played various sports like cricket, basketball and triathlon before finding her passion for cycling.
Rameshwori Devi (Source: Indian Express)
In a career which started in 1995 and spanned over two decades, the now 43 year old has clinched around 102 medals in various national and international level competitions. What is more mesmerising is the fact that out of the 102 medals she has bagged in her career, only one of them is bronze while the rest are all either gold or silver.
She donned the national jersey to represent India in cycling at the 2010 Asian Games and 2010 Commonwealth Games
Apart from being one of the best cyclists produced by India, Rameshwori Devi is also a CID officer and is mother of two kids. She took a three year break from cycling owing to maternal duties and returned to cycling in 2015 to win the 100th medal of her career, which turned out to be a gold, in the women’s sprint event during the National Games held at Kerala. Incidentally, the only bronze of her career was her 99th medal overall!
The hundredth medal was a huge one in the context of Rameshwori’s career. Not only was she returning to competitive cycling after almost three years, but she was up against a much younger Deborah Harold, who was aged just 19 years then. No one gave Rameshwori even a slightest chance of win as she started the race as an underdog. But, she had a point to prove!
With a strong will-power and determination, Rameshwori destroyed the young Harold and reminded the world what she was capable of.
“Many, except those in the professional cycling circuits, did not think that I would win. I’m glad I could prove them wrong,” she had said after her win.
Rameshwori Devi is surely an inspiration for the thousands of girls in the country who aspire to take up sports as a profession.