The coronavirus lockdown in India has been severe on a lot of people, especially the ones residing in different states. The plight of migrant labourers has dominated social media and headlines for the past month. There was one story in the past few days that captured the imagination of Indians. 15-year-old Jyoti Kumari had to travel 1200 kilometers on a cycle with her ailing father to take him to his native place.
Kumari was residing in Gurugram before the lockdown but had to make the tough decision to peddle her way to Bihar along with her father due to nation-wide lockdown. She reached her destination in seven days and it now looks like her sheer doggedness has finally been rewarded.
In what could be a life-changing opportunity, the cycling federation will invite 15-year-old Jyoti to appear for a trial next month.
Cycling Federation of India Chairman Onkar Singh told PTI that if Kumari, a class eight student, passed the trial, she will be selected as a trainee at the state-of-the-art National Cycling Academy at the IGI Stadium complex here.
The academy, under the aegis of Sports Authority of India, is one of the most advanced facilities in Asia and has the recognition of UCI, the world body of the sport.
"We spoke to the girl this morning and we have told her that she will be called to Delhi next month as soon as the lockdown is lifted. All the expenses of her travel, lodging and other will be borne by us," Singh said.
"If she needs to accompany somebody from home, we will also allow that. We will see in consultation with our Bihar state unit on how she can be brought to Delhi for a trial," he added.
Asked about the rationale behind offering trial to the youngster, Singh said, "She must have something in her. I think cycling down more than 1200km is not a mean job. She must be having the strength and physical endurance. We want to test it."
"We will make her sit on the computerised cycle we have at the academy and see if she satisfies the seven or eight parameters to get selected. After that she can be among the trainees and she will not have to spend anything."
He said the CFI always try to find out talent for grooming.
"We have nearly 10 cyclists in the age group of 14-15 in the academy. So we want to nurture young talents."
Jyoti's father, Mohan Paswan, an autorickshaw driver in Gurgaon got injured and the lockdown left him without any source of income. He had to return the autorickshaw to the owner.
The father and daughter duo started their journey from Gurgaon on May 10 after buying a cycle with whatever money they had and reached their village on May 16.