The Cycling Dream Pakistan National Cycling Team

The story of cycling in Pakistan is as interesting as the cyclists in it. As cricket is somehow the number one sport in the country everything else is neglected. With a little effort and training our cyclists can at least become competitive in the sports internationally. Unfortunately, with no sponsors and no real charm in the financial benefits from the sports, a lot of great talent is lost.

The Luggage of a team member

However, our team is comprised of some wonderful cyclists from backgrounds that are truly amazing.

Habibullah (left) Tanzeel (right) Pakistan Junior Cyclists both 16 years old.

These two are our hope for the Olympics, if they are trained well right now, they have a bright chance of representing Pakistan in Olympics. Habibullah is from Islamabad. He used to have a soup stall outside PolyClinic Hospital (which was removed by CDA recently), now he has been offered a job by Islamabad Cycling Association.

Top Left: Farman, below him: Burhan, next to them: Arsalan, bottom left: Abdul Basit, bottom right: Haroon (Manager)

Haroon and I go a long way back, even before we started our university we had met. He called me to get some pictures of the cycling team before they left for the championship in Bahrain. I went to Jinnah Stadium and underneath the stadium is the Jinnah Hostel. The boys were staying at room no. 109.

I had never been inside the hostels, so it seemed like a fantastic opportunity to get some documentary shots of our cycling team. This was the entrance to the Jinnah Hostel, where cyclists, runners gymnasts and other sportsmen resided.

As I entered the hostel, I wasn't surprised to see the depilated condition of the place. It looked like a place where you could film a horror movie.

Yet our sportsmen and women (probably in another hostel) ignore all of this and train hard with whatever they can to wear the Pakistani flag.

Room 109. The cycling team of 6 to represent Pakistan in the 37th Asian Cycling Championships in Bahrain was staying inside.

As I entered, I was greeted by Habibullah (as he knew me), Farman was lying in his bed after a training run.

The room was quite large and had 8 beds. One of the window had a curtain on it, the light was bright outside and because of the three windows the room was well lit. The bicycles that had to go with the team were neatly stacked against the wall.

Burhan, was giving tips to Habibullah about technique when I entered the room.

Fata Cycling Association had the boxes made for transportation of the bicycles. Here are the boxes for the bikes ready to be loaded. Later on we pasted stickers on the bags as the final preparations were made.

The team was told to suit up for the photoshoot. The good thing about this was that all suits were tailor made for each one of them.

The suits were a good fit.

Habibullah all set for the shoot, the ties hadn't arrived yet, but we went ahead with the shoot.

The Pakistan team was now ready.

We walked out to the middle of the stadium for the photos. The idea was to get some team photos and some portraits. The light was fantastic. The athletes well dressed and the Pakistani national colours shining.

They wear the colours with such great pride. You can see it in their eyes.

The Team

Habibullah couldn't go Bahrain as they found out that he was younger than the Junior age bracket.

The Seniors finished 15th out of 19th in the time trials.

Tanzeel also got to know on the day of the flight that he cannot participate because of his age.

Haroon, who is the Secretary General of Islamabad cycling association was selected to be the Manager of the team. And from what I know he will critically analyse all of our shortcomings and report the improvements that are needed. I personally also believe that he will be able to mentor Habibullah to become our Olympic entry.

Even though the results might not be all that great right now, but these guys will be the shining stars of Cycling from Pakistan. Unfortunately, we'd never care about cycling as much as we do about cricket.

Created By
Umayr Masud
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©Umayr Masud

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