Esow Alben who won 02 Gold medals one in Individual Sprint &other one in Team Sprint events in Track Asia Cup 2018 hailing from Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar islands is taking the hope and future of Indian Cycling forward. The charming 17 year old with his ever-smiling face, has been under the limelight from the time he bagged the silver medal at the Keirin world junior championship 2018 held in Aigle, Switzerland. Being ranked world’s No.1 in the keirin event and No.2 in the sprint event, he is paving his way towards heightening the glory of Indian Cycling.
Hailing from a family of sports enthusiasts, he started his journey on the wheels at the age of 14 after trying his hands at Rowing.
The islander did not have professional training or proper equipments when he attended his first National Championship in 2015. The two silver medals brought him to the notice of the selection committee. He joined the Sports Authority of India Cycling Academy (SAINCA) under the coaching of Mr.Srinu and shifted to Delhi to be with his fellow cyclists. Foreseeing the future champion in Esow, SAINCA enabled him to bring out his talent and prove his mettle. A big breakthrough in his career happened when he got sponsored by Honda for receiving training in Germany. He started winning small events in Germany and got a hike in his world rankings.
In the Asian Championship held in Malaysia during February this year, Esow set the velodrome on fire by winning three golds making him the only male cyclist to have won this in the Championship. His team for the sprint event which includes Jemsh Singh and Mayurpawar, is ranked No.2 . He says the team spirit is really working well for them and hopes this remains the same in the future as well. Esow bagged 2 golds, one in sprint event and one in team sprint to his achievements in the Track Asia cup 2018.
When asked about his future, the promising athlete said -“ I take the immediate tournament as my goal and work hard towards it. Yes, bigger aspirations are ahead, especially the 2020 Tokyo olympics.Getting at least one athlete qualify for the 2020 olympics will turn out to be a milestone for Indian cycling. The 2019 World championship which is to be held in Frankfurt, Germany will be the decider whether I can make it to the Tokyo olympics. I will either participate in the junior category aiming to set a record or in the elite category looking for a spot in the olympics.’’ He is very much aware of the expectations that lie on his shoulders and also regarding financial investment from the government's side. He vows to work harder to keep up with the expected standards.
When asked about his present coach Mr.RK Sharma, Esow couldn't contain his gratitude given that Sharma is also his key motivator. The Track head Coach RK Sharma feels that it might be difficult to qualify for the Tokyo olympics as the qualifying tournaments are near. But, he is pretty confident about winning at least one medal in the 2024 Olympics and is expects Esow to lead the Indian camp. He said- ‘’every athlete needs to bring out a collective effort by combining the physical ability with determination and discipline.’’
“ The standards of European Cycling is unmatchable. It’s my wish that Indian cycling flourish to those standards. If cycling becomes a popular sport in India and the stadiums get filled during a tournament, like it happens in Europe, it will be very effective. It would encourage people to slowly adopt a culture of using bicycles for transportation, will be beneficial both for their health as well as for the environment.’’- Esow turns out to be an athlete with a vision.