In the Khelo India Youth Games, Adil Altaf of Jammu & Kashmir created history. He won the first-ever cycling gold medal for his state.
Altaf, who hails from Srinagar blazed to glory in the Boys 70km road race on Saturday.
He is a son of a financially constrained tailor and started cycling as his daily chores for dropping and picking up stuff for his father.
The 18-year-old had already won a silver in the 28kms individual time trial the previous day.
Lieutenant Governor of Jammu & Kashmir Manoj Sinha congratulated him on his massive win.
He registered victory against players including Sidhesh Patil (Maharashtra) and Arshad Faridi of Delhi.
“This is a big moment for me,” he conceded shortly after his victory. “I came here confident of doing well. The gold is a bonus and a huge confidence booster.”
As a kid, Altaf used to cycle in the crowded by-lanes of Lal Bazar in central Kashmir's Srinagar district. At the age of 15, he competed for the first time in a cycling event organized at his school. It was during that time he took cycling seriously.
His father has a huge contribution to his success as he used to work doubly hard to buy him a cycle good enough for him to pursue his passion.
As he began to win in local events, the State Bank of India in Srinagar came to his aid, sponsoring his MTB bike, costing Rs 4.5 lakh.
For the past six months, Altaf had been training at the NIS Patiala, preparing for the Khelo India Games.