India makes its debut in the World Cup circuit with Pragnya Mohan
For a country of 1.4 billion habitants, seems estrange to find a sport that only a handful of people practice. But that’s the case, for the moment, of triathlon in India. Young triathlete Pragnya Mohan is determined to show the world not only her potential, but also that swim, bike and run can be practiced in India. And she has set herself in the path for the Olympic qualification glory.
“Triathlon is not easy to practice in India, the roads have a lot of traffic and you have to be very careful when riding a bike. We can only train with the bike really early in the mornings, around 4am, and we don’t have clean open water places for training near Pokhara, where I live. But what makes it more difficult is that many people don’t even know what triathlon is here in my country”, she said before toeing the line for the first time in a World Cup, in Madrid last week.
“I’ve been a swimmer since I was a kid, and during my teenage years triathlon just happened to be there. This was in 2014, when I did my first ever triathlon, and my dad was my coach, but in 2017 I did my first international races, in Asia, and got to meet some coaches from other countries. A year ago I started training with an Spanish coach, Eva Ledesma, and I have improved a lot. That’s why I decided to participate in the Madrid World Cup, the first time ever that a triathlete from India is competing at this level. And it has been a great experience, meeting athletes and trying to improve so that I keep on this path in the near future”, she said.
In the two years that she has been training along with some other international athletes, while studying abroad, she finished in third place in the South Asian Championships held in Pokhara in 2018, and in fourth place in a sprint triathlon Asian Cup in April 2019.
In Madrid, she couldn’t finish the race as she was lapped in the last lap of the bike course, but is determined to continue training and compete in other world cups. “My goal is to qualify for the Olympics. I know that is very complicated for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, so I am focused on 2024 in Paris”, she explained.
Watch an exclusive interview with Pragnya and images of her race in the Madrid World Cup on TriathlonLive.tv