KOZHIKODE: Anjitha Subalithan T P is a true believer in god, and she thinks everything that happens to her is happening for a good reason. Perhaps this belief would explain how an extremely shy girl rose to the top of cycling in the country.
Anjitha, who hails from a sleepy area in Kozhikode district, is a national winner in many cycling events that include a gold and a silver in the National Games that concluded two months ago in Kerala.
But what is interesting about her career is that Anjitha had never seriously ridden a bike before taking part in a selection trial which was held eight years ago to a Sports Council hostel in Thiruvananthapuram. Her only aim when she joined the hostel was to get hostel education.
“I just had a few weeks’ practice before I attended the selection, and that too at the insistence of my cousin who was working as a warden at the hostel. I was playing handball until then. She told me to learn cycle riding because a trail was coming to the sports hostel,” she says.
For Anjitha that step was just the beginning of an illustrious career, and she extended her deep gratitude to her cousin.” I believe without her I might not have learnt how to ride a cycle,” says Anjitha, who is currently training at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in New Delhi.
Anjitha, who had begun her training at the University Stadium, clinched the silver medal in the sub-junior national cycling championship in 2007, a year after she joined the sports hostel. “That boosted my confidence. Cycling is dangerous, especially the road events. But the medal dispelled all the initial fears.”
Anjitha then won two gold medals and a bronze in the National Road Cycling held in Bihar in 2011, another gold in the national track event in Punjab in the same year. She continued her medal exploits, winning a gold medal in the National Track Cycling Championship in 2012 and another in 2013.
The sprightly girl, who has an equal number in both track and road events, thinks her sport is expensive because a fully-equipped bike costs more than `3 lakh. She believes a girl from a middle class family cannot grow in sports due to the cost involved.
“Until recently I didn’t have a good cycle. I was not able to buy it because it was costly. Now I have one because I bought it using the prize money I received in the national events. But it is not the case everywhere. Sponsors are an important asset when it comes to cycling,” she says.