Khelo India Youth Games: Andaman’s Celestina picks up third gold, equals her own record

New Delhi :Andaman and Nicobar Islands’ Celestina Chelobroy equalled her own record in the Khelo India Youth Games, pedalling away to her third gold medal in cycling on Tuesday at the IG Velodrome in New Delhi.

The 19-year-old, another fully-rounded cyclist from the Union Territory’s much vaunted cycling nursery, had collected her first two gold medals, the Team Sprint (with Tina Maya) and Individual Sprint 200m events, on Monday itself.

She rounded up her tally on Day 2 of the event, clinching the keirin 1500m gold, to match her own 2020 Khelo Games exploits.

Celestina’s haul is even more commendable as she was in doubt for this edition, with a shoulder injury forcing her to take a break from cycling.

“I have recovered from the injury that I had suffered in the National Championships in Jaipur. I was a little apprehensive before I got into the drome. But once I got there, I felt good and I am glad that I came through,” she said.

“The Khelo India Youth Games is one of the biggest stages for young Indian sportspersons. The medals I had won in Guwahati were a huge confidence-booster,” Celestina, whose best show was in last year’s National Championships in Hyderabad where she won five medals, said.

“I was initiated into cycling by my father, Bedford,” Celestina said. Her display of raw talent in the 2018 National Championships made National coach RK Sharma rope her into the National Academy in Delhi. “It is a nice feeling when you train with a number of cyclists. As a kid, I loved challenges and that helped me make a mark.”

Now, the innate potential of the youngster is being honed at the National Academy. Though cycling made its debut in the Khelo India Games only in 2020, Celestina has been a Khelo India scholar since August 2018 and has been training at Sports Authority of India’s world class velodrome in the National capital.

Car Nicobar boasts of a grand cycling legacy. Back in the 90s, gifted cyclists started to emerge from these picturesque Islands.  Today, this Union Territory is a veritable nursery for cycling, with the likes of Deboarah Herold and Esow Alban emerging as inspirations for a younger generation of riders.

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