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Losing competition- A memoir

It’s 23 years since I lost a cycling race. But it is fresh in my memories. Why is it that I tend to remember my failures more than achievements? Is it something usual with all others?

I had picked cycling as a sport in the hope of improving my chances of securing admission in a reputed engineering college. Post finishing my schooling, I singly focused on cycling. My studies became a second priority. I was mistakenly committed to winning a medal rather than ensuring a consistent focus on my studies.

In 1995, the All India Inter-University Cycling competition had a team road race on the last day of the event. I was assigned to be part of the four-member road race team. We as a team had made a slow start but gradually built momentum. I was nervous and found it challenging to be in the rhythm. I had to put in extra effort to keep the pace.

The winning team will be the team completing 70 km in the shortest time. We completed the race in record time, breaking the last record. I was excited to be part of the Gold medal-winning team. When all the other teams finished their race, the results announced had no mention of our team. We were shocked to be disqualified.

We were disqualified for breaking the race rules. But we never informed about which rule was broken. I pleaded our coach to get the Decision reversed. I desperately needed the medal. I had exhausted all options to secure a the medal since it was the last race for the annual event. A gold medal would have ensured my admission into an engineering college.

I had swiveled from studies to cycling. Despite being a bright student at school, the two years at cycling had hurt me academically. I failed to secure a seat in engineering college. I had the chances, despite an abysmal performance at entrance test, if I had a gold medal in cycling at National level.

I never intended to be a sportsperson. At best, I hoped cycling would be recalled as a hobby. Today, I am doing good and living happily, but I am not an engineer. This one failure stays in my heart.

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