Deborah Herold is a velocipedist par excellence.
A native of the Andamans and Nicobar islands, the 18-year-old has faced the ravages of nature when the tsunami hit her shores when she was barely nine years old.
The intrepid youngster spent a whole day up a tree to escape the flooding of her beloved Car Nicobar base.
Deborah did not start out as a cyclist.
Her favoured sport was the long jump.
She took part once in a cycling competition simply to make up the numbers. She won.
She hasn’t looked back since.
The lass who can only speak pidgin Hindi has no problem communicating her prowess in the velodrome.
Deborah bagged one silver and two bronze in the recently concluded Hero Asian Cycling championship in New Delhi.
Her feats have propelled her to the No. 4 spot in the World Elite UCI (International Cycling Union) rankings released by UCI.
“I am happy that my ranking has improved a lot and I am the first Indian cyclist to reach at this stage but I want to improve more in the coming days and aiming to be number one in the world. I would like to thank our federation and government for their continuous support in our preparations. I am working hard to qualify for Olympics now.”
She was ranked 10th prior to the Asian championships.
Deborah also won five medals at the Taiwan Cup Track International Classic event held in October this year—one gold, three silver and a bronze.
She currently trains in Delhi at the Indira Gandhi stadium. She began her career at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Andaman.
Cycling appears to be yet another sport where women athletes are making giant strides.
May their tribe increase.