NEW DELHI: The recent surge in Covid-19 cases in Delhi has meant that the rescheduled ‘Track Asia Cup‘ cycling tournament – a crucial ranking points event directly linked to India’s qualification chances for the Cycling World Championship in Turkmenistan – will not be held as planned here next month.
The third wave of the coronavirus has put paid to the hopes of the Cycling Federation of India (CFI) to host the International Cycling Union’s (UCI) Class 1 event in December, which was originally planned from October 30 to November 1 at the IGI stadium here. Had the championship gone ahead, it would have been the first international sporting event to be held in Delhi in the times of Covid-19.
The CFI was optimistic about hosting the event after the Sports Authority of India (SAI) had cleared the federation’s budgetary allocation as part of its Annual Competition and Training Calendar (ACTC). The federation also had a couple of sponsors on board. However, during the CFI office-bearers’ recent meeting with officials of the Asian Cycling Confederation (ACC) in Dubai, it was communicated to the Indian federation that most of the participating nations have expressed reservations over travel to Delhi.
The CFI had planned to officially invite entries from the competing nations for the December event, but the ACC told them to first assess the participation interest level of these member nations informally. The CFI mailed the ACC’s member federations to know their interest and, as expected, most of these nations cited the health and well-being of their cyclists for their refusal to come for the meet.
The CFI had assured the cyclists of creating the best quarantine, testing and bio-secure facility. The federation has now until March 2021 to organise the event after which the UCI will take away the hosting rights. For the championship to happen, a minimum of five participating nations or at least 100 cyclists are required. At last year’s edition in Delhi in September, as many as 150 riders from 16 different nations had participated.