Chennai: Kerala youngster Alanis Lilly Cubeleo, who moved from swimming to cycling during the Covid-19 lockdown, displayed her athleticism as she won a gold and silver medal in cycling in the ongoing Khelo India Youth Games 2023 in Tamil Nadu.
In the face of the Covid-19 lockdown, where most viewed the restrictions as a curse, Alanis Lilly Cubeleo saw it as an opportunity for transformation. As pools shut and competitive swimming came to a halt, she was determined not to let the pandemic hinder her athletic pursuits. Hence, she pivoted her focus from the water to the open road, embracing the challenges and joys of cycling.
At the Khelo India Youth Games 2023 on Monday, the 18-year-old displayed the power of that athleticism and hard work as she won the gold medal in the 60km individual Road Race and silver in the 20km Individual Time Trials in the ongoing Khelo India Youth Games 2023 in Tamil Nadu. By doing so, she also became the first Kerala cyclist to win a Road Race medal in the history of the Khelo India Youth Games.
“I did my best. Of course, I was nervous. But somewhere I was confident I could do it. This is my first ever major medal in this sport. I am very glad to bag these medals in my first ever Khelo India Youth Games appearance, I also want to represent our nation in the international circuit,” said Alanis. The youngster, who was hoping to become a competitive swimmer before Covid stuck, was prodded by her father Ancel to take up cycling as he was himself a former State-level cyclist.
However, the switch wasn’t all that easy as Alanis initially had no coach and would train in the morning and evening on her own through the shores of Kochi port also known as the ‘Queen of Arabian Sea’. Her coach Chandran Chettiyar lauded the effort the 18-year-old has put into winning the medal. “She has been training for two years by herself and I was with her for only a short period. All credit goes to her dad. He was pulling all stops to ensure she would triumph and win a medal in the past four years.”
At the Khelo India Games, Alanis got the better of many experienced players including Tamil Nadu’s J. Srimathi, who won the bronze medal at the 2023 Asian Track Cycling Championships in Delhi and believes that the performance would only give her the confidence to aim higher.
“I am feeling really proud as a father, and happy to see her win the medals in Khelo India Youth Games. This stage allowed her to compete with international level players and she also managed to win against them. I think the confidence that she gains from this competition will help her in the upcoming competitions too,” Ancel said.