Pakistan to host South Asian Road Cycling Championship this year: Azhar

PESHAWAR:Pakistan succeeded in winning the hosting right of the South Asian Road Cycling Championship for male and female cyclists this year, the newly elected President of the South Asian Cycling Association Syed Azhar Ali Shah, hailing from Pakistan, said here Tuesday.

Syed Azhar Ali Shah, who is also President Pakistan Cycling Federation, was elected as President South Asian Cycling Association in a general council meeting of the Asian Cycling Confederation held in Abu Dubai with Parmancar Singh of the President of Indian Cycling Federation in the chair.

Syed Azhar Ali Shah, a former winner of the most famous Pakistan Tour de Cycling race from Mazar-e-Quaid to Bab-e-Khyber Peshawar, along with Secretary PCF Nisar Ahmad are currently in Abu Dubai for the General Council Meeting of the Asian Cycling Confederation.

The meeting attended by five members countries out of seven i.e Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Sri Lanka and the Maldives could not make it to the meeting. The meeting was Chaired by Mr. Parmandar Singh, President Indian Cycling Federation who holds the Presidentship of South Asian Cycling Association from last four years.

The meeting discussed a number of matters related to the development of the sport of cycling in the South Asian countries. The meeting awarded South Asian Road cycling Championship both male and female to Pakistan, Mountain Bike Championship has been awarded to Nepal and Track Championship holding rights have been given to India in 2021.

Earlier, the meeting unanimously elected Syed Azhar Ali Shah, who is also President of the Pakistan Cycling Association as President South Asian Cycling Association for next four-year.The meeting also elected four Vice Presidents including MuhammadTahir (Bangladesh), Minder Singh (India), Karunarathna (Sri Lanka), (Maldives) each country representative. Gopal S L Kakshapli (Nepal) has been elected as General Secretary and Fasli Zai from Afghanistan elected as Finance Secretary.

Talking to reporter , a jubilant Syed Azhar Ali Shah said that they have succeeded in winning the holding of South Asian Road Cycling Championship-2021 this year wherein male and female cyclists of the South Asian Countries would participate.

He said it was a golden opportunity for Pakistan to bring international cyclists to Pakistan and the Championship would be organized either in Peshawar or Islamabad. All eight nations of South Asia will feature their cyclists in the event. It includes the countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and the Maldives.

Syed Azhar Ali Shah said that 2021 would be a bright and glorious year in terms of cycling due to the difficulties faced because of coronavirus last year. This year the competitions will start from March 29 with the National Cycling Track Championship, which will continue for three days. Junior and senior cyclists will participate in the Track National Championship to be held in Lahore while the second event is the Third International Dagger Cycle Race for which all preparations have been completed.

The competitions will be held before or after Ramadan, he said, adding, “The participation of seven countries in the event is almost certain. However, it is estimated that more than ten countries will participate in the Khunjerab International Cycle Race. Last year the event cost Rs 300 million.

The KP government has started work on an emergency basis to build a wooden velodrome of international standard, the first being in Pakistan and handed over the work to Nespak for the construction. The project, he said, would be completed by next year in March.

The Pakistan and Provincial Cycling Association are very grateful to the provincial government for this, he said, adding, “last year we had to participate in a number of international competitions including Switzerland Wood Cycling Championship, Asian Track Championship in Malaysia but all of such events were postponed due to coronavirus.

Azhar said that the Chief Minister KP Mahmood Khan has given the plan for the Swat International Cycle Race and hopefully soon he would give us a go ahead signal for holding the international event in Swat as well.

After the approval of Chief Minister KP Mahmood Khan the PFC would hold the International Swat Cycle Race soon after Eid-ul-Fitr wherein more than nine countries are expected to participate, he concluded.