The Cycling Federation of India will invite 15-year-old Jyoti Kumari for a trial next month. In a superhuman effort, the teenager pedalled her way to Bihar from Gurugram carrying her ailing father.
Stuck in Gurugram due to nation-wide lockdown, a tenacious Jyoti asked her father to sit on the rear side carrier of her cycle and took him to his native place, covering 1200km in seven days.
CFI 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 in Delhi.
The academy, under the aegis of Sports Authority of India (SAI), 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.
Jyoti's journey has become an extensive talking point even on social media where there has been talk about whether she has it in her to pursue cycling as a career.
"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.
The buzz is a reminder of the hype that Kambala racer Srinivasa Gowda generated with a sensational run in a local race, which prompted comparisons with Usain Bolt in social media and an invitation from sports minister Kiren Rijiju to appear for trials.
Gowda, however, declined the offer, acknowledging the difference between his craft and competitive running at the highest level.
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.
(With PTI inputs)