19-year-old Dinesh Kumar became the first-ever cycling gold medallist at Khelo India Youth Games in Guwahati. He clocked 40:11:133 seconds in the U-21 individual 30 km event.
Hailing from Rourkela, Odisha, Kumar is the son of a small-time shopkeeper and used to help his father by doing odd jobs and running errands on a bicycle. He went on to participate in National Track Championships and was recruited by the Indian Air Force.
He told TOI,
“I have just liked something about cycling, right since I was a kid. I think I got inspired by an elderly cycling fanatic that I used to see every day. Like him, I too simply pulled out my bike whenever I felt like and went away on long drives. It was all so peaceful and energising. In 2015, I went to Kerala for the national track championships and performed well enough to get selected to enter SAI, Delhi. That’s when my journey in cycling truly began.”
‘National-level multidisciplinary games’, Khelo India gives scholarships to 1000 students to prepare them for international events.