Video editor: Purnendu Pritam
Seventeen-year-old Ronaldo Laitonjam Singh is living up to his name. But the only thing is that the Manipuri athlete is making India proud not on the football field, like his namesakes, but in the world of cycling.
Named after the legendary Brazilian striker Ronaldo Luís Nazário, the Indian cyclist clinched four gold medals in the recently concluded Track Asia Cup 2019.
“It is a big achievement for both India & for me. Four golds in three days. I came here for the gold medals.”Ronaldo Laitonjam Singh, Indian cyclist
In the same competition, Ronaldo smashed the Asian record in the men's junior 200m time trial event.
Ronaldo clocked 10.065 seconds in the qualifying round of 200m time trial to break the previous record held by China’s Liu Qi, who had completed the race in 10.149 seconds in 2018.
Ronaldo’s four gold medals come within a month of India’s first-ever world gold in cycling. Ronaldo, along with teammates Rojit Singh Yanglem and Esow Alben, won the team sprint gold medal in the Junior Track Cycling World Championships in Frankfurt.
Till August 2019, India had never won any gold – senior or junior, women or men – in cycling
Currently, part of the junior set up, Ronaldo is fourth in the world rankings. His teammate Esow Alben from the island of Andaman and Nicobar tops the ranking. But soon Ronaldo will become the world number one in junior ranking once they are updated next year as Esow moves into the senior category.
Yet to participate in the senior events, Ronaldo will be in action in the World Cup in Canada next year.
At the recently concluded Track Asia Cup 2019 in New Delhi, hosts India topped the medals tally with 10 gold, 8 silver and 7 bronze medals.
Ronaldo began pursuing his cycling dream only after one of his friends brought him the form for the National Cycling Academy in Delhi. Despite his mother’s apprehension, Ronaldo came to Delhi but didn’t fancy his chances. It was only after he saw the expensive cycles at the academy that Ronaldo’s hobby transcended into his passion.
A native of Wangkhei in Manipur, Ronaldo wishes that he can continue his golden run when he starts participating in the senior events.