Deborah Herold missed out on a podium finish but India added another bronze through Aleena Reji, who won her second medal in a national record time to emerge as the star performer of the host country on the second day of the Asian Track Cycling Championships in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Kerala girl Aleena bagged the bronze medal in the junior women 500m time trial event after clocking 37.439 seconds to add to her first bronze, which she had won in the team sprint on the opening day on Monday at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium velodrome.
In the process, she broke her own national junior 500m time trial record of 37.80 seconds.
India have won two bronze — both by Aleena — in the championships so far to be at ninth spot in the medal tally.
“I am very happy to win a bronze today. This is my second medal in the championships and I have not thought I will do like this. This is my personal best in this time trial event,” Aleena told PTI after her race.
“I won a silver in the Track Asia Cup here last year but this (Asian Championships) is a much bigger event and I have not thought that I would win a bronze in 500m time trial in the Asian Championships,” she added.
The gold medal went to Chao Yue Shen of China who clocked 35.291 seconds while Seolhwa Jeong of Korea claimed the silver with a timing of 36.35 seconds.
India’s biggest medal hope from the women elite events, Deborah, however, had to be content with a fourth-place finish in her favourite 500m time trial event finals despite coming up with her personal best and national record time of 35.367 seconds.
She finished fourth behind 2012 Olympic medallist Lee Wai Sze of Hong Kong, who clocked 34.204 seconds for the gold, Sunyong Cho (35.224 seconds) of Korea and Li Xue Mei (35.271 seconds) of China.
Deborah said she would try to leave this disappointment behind as soon as possible and focus on doing well in the two World Cups coming up — in Colombia and USA.
She also said that she was looking at the arrival of customised cycles made for her from England to do better at the World Cups.
“I will try to forget this performance as soon as possible. This is my favourite event. I did my personal best but still not enough for a medal,” said Deborah.
“I am getting my personalised cycles which will be much better than the current one I am using and with that I am hoping to do even better time in the World Cups. I am sure my performance and timing will be better with the new cycles,” said the 21-year-old cyclist from Andaman and Nicobar.
Deborah will take part in individual sprint event on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, 2012 London Olympics bronze winner Mohd. Azizulhasni Awang finished ninth in men’s elite keirin event in the biggest shock of the championships so far.
Kasra Bagherpour secured the first gold medal for Iran by winning the men’s elite scratch finals by finishing a lap ahead of his closest competitor, Leong Chi Son of Macau.
Chun Wing Leung of Hong Kong secured the second gold of the day with an incredibly fast race, finishing almost two laps ahead of the rest of the field.
After day two of the competitions, China were on top of medal tally with 5 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze, followed by Japan (4 gold, 2 silver, 6 bronze), Kazakhstan (3, 0, 6), South Korea (2, 8, 3) and Hong Kong (2, 2, 1).