‘‘One cyclist fell down near LIC Bhawan in Connaught Place. His cycle hit the pavement while he was practicing. The impact was such that the rim of the front wheel got distorted. The other cyclist got injured as he fell down while trying to overtake another participant. His cycle skidded due
to the rubble,” said sources.
Akil Khan, managing director of ID sports, the event’s organizing body, confirmed the injuries. ‘‘One of them was treated in the tent and the other one, a professional, had to be taken to the hospital for treatment,’’ said Khan.
The capital hosted its first international cycling event on Sunday. It saw participants from 10 countries including South Africa, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Holland and Belgium and was flagged off by CWG organizing committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi. But things went rapidly downhill almost immediately thereafter.
Almost all participants complained of uneven tracks and faulty cycles. Said Arran Brown (South Africa), the winner of the international-elite, “The bollards (barriers) put in the middle of the road kept falling. Due to this, it became very tough for us to maintain high speed. Also, there was rubble lying on the road at places.”
Sherin from Philippines had to quit the race due to a flat tire. He complained, “I was leading the race in the first lap, but my tyre burst. It hit a small sharp rock on the track. The organizers should keep such things in mind. No one provided me with a spare tyre, although they were carrying spare tyres.’’
Another problem witnessed during the mega event was that people could be seen criss-crossing the road even as the race went on. With the subways in Connaught Place closed for renovation, impatient pedestrians could be seen flouting traffic rules in front of
the policemen and crossing the road or the circuit. Stray dogs were also seen on the cycling track.
Apart from the international elite race, there were four categories of cycling contests which included the national elite ride (50 km), junior ride (5 km) and corporate ride (25 km). The cyclothon which began at 7am and ended by 12.30pm, was flagged off from Parliament Street. It covered Patel Chowk, Janpath, Rajpath, Vijay Chowk and Connaught Place. While OC chairman Suresh Kalmadi flagged off the event, Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit was present to award the winners. Dikshit did not speak to the media. Talking about the preparations, Kalmadi said, ‘‘We can trace any defects in the management by keeping an eye on this event. Cycling will be an important event in the Games. I am sure cycling will catch up all over the country with events like these.’’
Due to large-scale renovation work going on in CP area, permission for this event was held back for long, only to be cleared at the last moment. Roads in Outer circle, which were in bad shape till Saturday, were pitched hurriedly within 24 hours before the event. There was rubble left behind and at some places the road was uneven.