MTB Kerala Again Thrills Adventure-loving Cyclists
Kochi: Canadian Cory Wallace (1:43:27.664 hours) and Iranian Farzad Khodayari (1:43:33.288) rode to victory at the sixth edition of MTB (Mountain Terrain Bike) Kerala by finishing first and second respectively in the men’s international category. In the women’s segment of the India’s biggest competitive cycling event, German Naima Madlen Diesner (1:23:42.932) and Nepalese Laxmi Magar (1:37:37.490) emerged the topper and first runner-up respectively.
Canadian Cory Wallace and German Naima Madlen Diesner emerge winners in the men’s and women’s international categories, respectively
Organised by Kerala Tourism under the aegis of Kerala Adventure Tourism Promotion Society (KATPS), District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) – Wayanad and Cycling Federation of India (CFI), this year’s mega mountain biking event turned out to be more challenging and thrilling, as the riders had to navigate a five-km stretch at an altitude of 3000 ft. that included dirt tracks, rocky terrain and shallow water bodies. Held at the rugged Pancharakolli village in the district, MTB Kerala is India’s pioneering cycling event listed under Swiss-based UCI, the 1900-founded world body governing the sport.
“Over the years, the stupendous success of MTB Kerala has placed the State on the global map of mountain biking and also brought into sharp focus its adventure-related facets,” Kadakampally Surendran, State Tourism Minister said.
Shiven (1:53:51.054) and Kiran Kumar Raju (1:54:34.258), both from India, finished third and fifth in the men’s international category. Chandigarh-based Shiven and Kiran from Begaluru thus emerged the national champion and runner-up in the national segment. Devender Kumar of Uttarakhand was the second runner-up (national), while Buddhi Bahadur Tamang of Nepal (1:54:03.788) came fourth in the international section.
A total of 78 men in both the international (14 countries, including India) and national segments covered the tough stretch of mud roads strewn with loose stones, pedalling along the 4.8-km lap eight times. It was five rounds for the 24 women. Among them, Poonam Rana (1:44:53.490) of Uttarakhand, Priyanka Shivaji Karande (1:49:58.096) of Maharashtra and Jyotsna (2:03:02.868) of Karnataka finished third and fourth, thus making them the topper and runner-up in the women’s national category of MTB 2019. The next four were all from Kerala: Ginimol Joseph (2:07:26.683), Saisree A P (2:08:58.116), Preethi B K (2:08:58.158) and Binilamol Giby (2:12:37.902).
The men’s race was flagged off by Ramachandran Kadannappally, State Minister while N Karunaratne, President, Sri Lanka Cycling Federation flagged off the women’s race.
The top winner of the international segment got a purse of Rs 1.5 lakh, while those who finished second, third, fourth and fifth were awarded Rs. 1 lakh, Rs. 50,000, Rs. 25,000 and Rs. 20,000, respectively. The winner of the national-level cross-country race (men) won a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh, followed by Rs. 50,000, Rs. 25,000 and Rs. 20,000 for the first, second and third runners-up. The women’s segment winner got a cash prize of Rs. 50,000, while those who finished second, third and fourth received cash prizes of Rs. 25,000, Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 15,000, respectively.
A total of 102 cyclists vied for honours with men and women participating separately in deviation to an earlier decision that the races would be gender-neutral.
The event saw participation of cyclists from Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Canada, Germany, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Uzbekistan besides India.
The closing ceremony was attended by Onkar Singh, Asian Cycling Federation Secretary-General and Maninder Pal Singh, his CFI counterpart, besides actor Tovino Thomas; Manesh Bhaskar, CEO, KATPS, among others.