Despite facing many hurdles in her life, she did not give up. And today, Deborah Herold has become India’s first female cyclist to achieve fourth rank in the world.
The ranking was issued by the Union Cyclist Internationale (UCI), which is the world’s governing body for the sport of bicycle racing, for the 500m time trial event.
Aplauding Herold, Cycling Federation of India Secretary General Onkar Singh said, “We are very happy that Indian Cyclists are improving day by day and I’m sure that Deborah will bring more laurels for the country.”
The 20-year-old tribal girl hails from Andaman and Nicobar Islands. At an age of nine, she was stuck on a tree for a day when tsunami hit the Car Nicobar air base.
But she didn’t lose hope and fought her way out of it. Deborah took up cycling at a young age. However, she dreamed of a career as a long jumper.
She attracted attention of coaches and experts when she won a local cycling event from Car Nicobar to the Andaman Islands.
She was trained by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Andaman initially and shifted to Delhi four years ago for training at Indira Gandhi stadium.
“I just want to do well, keep our medal tally increasing. That’s why we compete. I am in a very happy space right now with the team. We are working hard to keep the tempo up,” Herold said.
In October this year, she became India’s first woman cyclist to win a gold medal for the country in the women’s elite sprint.
She defeated South Korea’s Cho Sun Young. Also, she won five medals – a gold, three silver and a bronze- in the Taiwan Cup Track International Classic.
It is due to her hard work that the Indian team climbed to 13th place in the world rankings and became the top-ranked Asian country in the 500m time trial.
What is Herold aiming for now? “To be number one in the world,” she said.