New Delhi (Sputnik): For 15-year-old Jyoti Kumari Paswan, caring for her injured father, all roads have been closed for the last two months due to the lockdown. They were staying in Gurgaon, on the outskirts of Delhi. Jyoti’s mother and elder sister and family had managed to return to their village in Darbhanga in Bihar ahead of the lockdown.
An Indian girl’s feat of pedalling over 1,200 kilometres with an injured father has caught the attention of the Cycling Federation of India, which has now offered to take her on for training to be a professional cyclist.
“When we came to know that she has pedalled, that too with her father and some luggage, to cover 1,200 kilometres in seven days, we felt it was something extraordinary. It showed her endurance. So we thought, if she has such stamina, why don’t we give her a chance”, Onkar Singh, Chairman of the Cycling Federation of India told Sputnik.
“We have talked to her and explained our process. She said she is under quarantine now, but wants to follow her studies. We told her that our system of training is inclusive of academic studies and trains them in competitive cycling as well”, he said.
Onkar Singh said the Cycling Federation scouts for talent across the country between the ages 14-17, takes care of their training, education, boarding, and lodging and once they are ready to hit the track, nominate them for competitions at the national and international level.
Jyoti bought a used bicycle for a little over $25 and decided to carry her father on it all the way to her village 1,200 kilometres away, after their landlord asked them to vacate their home since they were unable to pay the rent. It took eight days for the young teenager to pedal all the way to Darbhanga from Gurgaon.
Jyoti’s father, an electric rickshaw driver had experienced an accident before the lockdown and was confined to his home. The father and daughter managed to survive for two months, but once the landlord asked them to vacate the premises, there was no other option for the duo.
Social media, meanwhile, has been all praise for the girl for her grit and determination. US President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka tweeted, “This beautiful feat of endurance and love has captured the imagination of the Indian people and the cycling federation!”
15 yr old Jyoti Kumari, carried her wounded father to their home village on the back of her bicycle covering 1,200 km over 7 days.
This beautiful feat of endurance & love has captured the imagination of the Indian people and the cycling federation!🇮🇳 https://t.co/uOgXkHzBPz
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) May 22, 2020
Rajeev Chandrasekhar, a member of India’s upper house of Parliament, the Rajya Sabha said, “This is the story of this coronavirus lockdown of grit n determination n love.”.
Tweeples have been singing the praises of the 8th standard girl, who just on an impulse set out on rickety bicycle.
What a Grit & guts of the school girl .
Bihar girl who cycled 1,200km carrying injured father offered trial by cycling federation https://t.co/15GWzMuKfg
— Dr. Shamsher Singh IPS (@Shamsher_IPS) May 22, 2020
Cycling almost 1,200 km with a debilitated person riding pillion could be a daunting task even for professional athletes, leave alone a teenage girl n dat amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In this case, d heavily-stacked odds against Bihar girl Jyoti Kumari were no match for her grit.
— Indur Chhugani (@IndurChhugani) May 20, 2020
India has been under a prolonged lockdown since 25 March to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The lockdown has deprived hundreds of thousands of daily wage earners of their livelihood, and many trudged back to their villages.
Since COVID-19 hit India on 30 January, the caseload has spiralled to cross the 100,000 mark. As of Saturday, the cumulative number of cases has reached 125,101, including 51,784 recoveries and 3,720 deaths.