You must have often across parents of young children (who are pursuing sports) say that they are always skeptical about buying their kids new sporting equipment. Their apprehensions root out of the fact that children of this age have fluctuating interests and they tend to shift their focus irrationally. They get bored of one particular activity very quickly.
It is safe to say that the mother of Bilal Ahmad Dar—first Jammu and Kashmir cyclist to don Indian colours— would have gone through the exact same emotions when her then 14-year-old son asked her to sell a piece of land to buy him extremely expensive cycle. Never had she envisioned that this decision would go on to pay her son and family in rich dividends. As CNN-News 18 reported, this happened only four years ago in 2015.
Hailing from Kawoosa village in Budgam district, he 18-year-old, since buying that extremely costly ‘cycle,’ Dar has represented India in several tournaments at the junior level. He has won several laurels at the national and the international level, including bagging medals at the Asian Junior Cycling Championship.
In 2017, Dar became the first Indian Indian cyclist to win four gold medals at the National School Games. This outstanding performance compelled former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and legendary Indian cricketer, V.V.S. Laxman to take to social media and heave praise on him.
Not long ago at the Asian Junior Championships held in Jakarata , he clinched two medals. He won the silver medal in the 3km individual pursuit and a bronze in the 4km team pursuit.
While speaking to PTI, Dar revealed that his family cultivates fruits and vegetables and he first caught the selectors’ eyes during a talent hunt in Srinagar. He also said that the sport is not very popular in the valley and that his father is his inspiration.
“I was selected through trials in Jammu and Kashmir. I was the first among all the athletes,” Dar told PTI on Tuesday. “My father used to ride a cycle and then there were a lot of people in my village cycling around that’s how I got the inspiration to ride,” he further elaborated.
Now that the teenager has turned 18 this year, he has become eligible to compete at the senior level and aims at representing India at the ultimate stage, the Olympics. Dar, who has been training in Delhi for the past four years, said:
“I have participated in the Asian Cup and then Asian Championship. My aim now is to represent India in the Olympics.”
His bid to participate at a global event received a huge boost, courtesy a recent move by the Sports Authority of India (SAI).With recent performances of the junior cyclists in mind, SAI has agreed to include them in their development programme for the Target Olympic Podium Scheme.
“SAI has principally agreed to include four of the junior cyclists in the development scheme of TOPS. There is a meeting on May 29, we have our fingers crossed,” told CFI Secretary General Onkar Singh to PTI.
Bilal Ahmad Dar has already made huge strides at the junior level. If he continues to stay focussed, sky will be the limit for this naturally-gifted cyclist.