Swaroopa Konde Deshmukh, the mother of Yuvrajsinh Konde Deshmukh, had noticed something unusual about her three-year-old son when he first rode a bicycle. At an age when parents sweat over teaching basic cycling skills to their children, Yuvraj was riding with a remarkable ease and was eager to perform stunts. It didn’t take Swaroopa long to realise that these traits were hereditary, passed on to him by his father Sandeep, an amateur motocross rider who couldn’t follow his passion due to the lack of parental support.
Together, Sandeep and Swaroopa took the decision to provide Yuvraj with a conducive atmosphere to ensure an unhampered progress in the sport. Their efforts are bearing fruits now as 10-year-old Yuvraj is now being project as a potential world class player by the experts in the game.
Having recently won three prizes at the Ajmera I-land Motocross Championship in Mumbai (first in U-10, second in foreign class bikes and third in U-14), Yuvraj is now headed for Georgia in the US to participate in an international event and pursue advanced training. Having secured wins at American Motorcyclist Association’s race at Axton in Virginia, last year and DMX championship in Dubai earlier this year, Yuvraj’s career graph is on a steep rise. His trainer for last three years, Rustom Patel, who is the head coach of I-Land racing academy and an eight-time national champion, says, “Honestly, Yuvraj is the fastest kid I have seen so far. He is way more talented than his competitors in skills like jumping and body balance, which require a lot of effort, that too at such a tender age. Just like born artists, he’s a born rider and he knows his trade.”
Before Yuvraj started his professional level coaching under US-based player Brad Ripple in 2011, his father was his mentor and coach. To encourage his love for stunts, Sandeep gifted him an ATV 50 cc bike when he was 6. However, he soon realized that his son’s grasping capacity demanded training from a skilled professional. “He was so particular about his training that he used to wake us up at 4.30 in the morning to take him to the training ground in Lullanagar. I used to feel very proud when people halted to see his stunts and applauded for him,” says Swaroopa.
To motivate their son further, the couple imported a KTM 50 cc bike from Dubai. “He quickly adapted to 65 cc and went to win several prizes in the category,” Swaroopa says.
His performances caught the eye of Patel, who recommended him to Atul Ajmera, chairman of I-land racing academy for sponsorship. Since then, Yuvraj has come first in 14 of the 16 international events he has participated in. “He has got a high class record in international events. Children usually take a lot of time to adapt to international standards and conditions. They come in top five after several attempts, but this kid is breaking all the stereotypes. He just wins the event. Believe me, it’s very tough to compete with Russians and Italians as they’ve mastered these events for years. But Yuvraj does it all easily. I think in future, he’s a serious contender for international championship,” says Patel.
Now studying in sixth standard, Yuvraj has also had severe injuries, but they don’t keep him away from the sport. “He had broken his collarbone a few years ago. As a mother, I was worried about his recovery. I told him to quit racing and pursue any other sport. But he told me that many champions have suffered through falls and injuries, broken their tailbones and collarbones and yet succeeded. When he’s not training, he watches the videos of bikers to learn their tricks. His passion for the sport is mind-boggling. He just has one dream, he wants to make India proud,” says Swaroopa.