Tsunami survivor Deborah Herold is world No. 4 cyclist
Jamie Alter | TNN | Dec 12, 2015, 07.46 AM IST
• Deborah became the first Indian female cyclist to be ranked fourth in the world
• At the Track Asia Cup, her three medals were critical to India finishing third, with 11 medals
• When she was 9 years old, she spent a whole day on a tree when tsunami struck the Car Nicobar base
Deborah became the first Indian female cyclist to be ranked fourth in the world (TOI Photo)Deborah became the first Indian female cyclist to be ranked fourth in the world
Deborah Herold is no stranger to surviving the odds. When just nine years old, she spent a whole day on a tree when the tsunami struck the Car Nicobar base where her father was employed.
With her family displaced, she had to wait for the waters to recede and hope for a timely rescue. It was a horrifying experience but this tribal girl from the Andamans was made of stern stuff. She took up cycling, a sport which has few fans in this country and even fewer champions, and quickly went on to become a role model.
On Friday, Deborah, now 20, scaled another unique peak when she became the first Indian female cyclist to be ranked fourth in the world, according to the World Elite Women Ranking issued by cycling world body UCI for the 500m time trial event.
Prior to the recent Track Asia Cup held at the Indira *hi Stadium velodrome here, an event in which Deborah put in a commanding performance, she was ranked 10th. At the three-day event last month, her three medals were critical to India's cycling contingent finishing in third place, with 11 medals.
"I am happy that I am the first Indian cyclist to reach this stage, but I want to improve more. I aim to be No. 1. I would like to thank our federation and government for their continuous support. I am working hard to qualify for the Olympics now," Deborah said.
Deborah Holden's story is an inspirational one. Days of struggle followed the tsunami, and though cycling was second nature, Deborah also dreamed of a career as a long jumper. She entered a local event, having brought her cycle from Car Nicobar to the Andaman Islands, and went on to win, attracting the attention of coaches and experts. There was no looking back and a stint with the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Andaman helped her make up her mind to pursue the sport.
"I just want to do well, keep our medal tally increasing," she had told TOI during the recent Track Asia Cup. "That's why we compete. I am in a very happy space right now with the team. We are working hard to keep the tempo up."
The Indian team has improved its world ranking to No. 13, making it the highest-ranked Asian country in the 500m time trial. China are ranked 15.http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/more-sports/cycling/Tsunami-survivor-Deborah-Herold-is-world-No-4-cyclist/articleshow/50146567.cms