GANGTOK, MARCH 13
The victorious Himalayan Ultimate Bike team comprising Padam Sabenhhang and Mangal Krishna Lama in the 448.6 km nine-leg first $25,000 firstInternational Khanchendzonga Mountain Biking Expedition were honoured at an impressive function at Hotel Mayur here this evening. The formidable pair from Nepal clocked 13::55::11 to receive the glittering team trophy from Padam Shree Baichan Bhutia. The Nepal mountain bikers shared a prize money of Rs 50,000 each.
Long haired Mangal Krishana Lama also was presented the men’s trophy as he covered the 448.6 km nine-leg distance in 13::20:25, pushing hot favourite and international Padam Sabenhhang, also of Nepal, to the second position. Padam clocked the energy-scapping distance in 13::21:30. Mangal, a student of 11th class, was richer by Rs 1.20 lakh while Padam received a cheque of Rs 1 lakh. Naresh Barman of Army C team finished third for a prize money of Rs 50,000.
Army B team comprising of Dileep Kumar Singh and Kalyan Singh emerged runners-up with an average time of 14::42:18. and were richer by Rs 60,000. The Army C team of Naresh Barman and Diben Meetei were third in team championship. They got Rs 40,000.
Chandigarh Kulbir Kaur, represeting Firefox, completed the race in 21::50:29 to claim the women’s title which carried a prize money of Rs 70,000. Her colleague Monika, also of Chandigarh, was runner-up in 26::49:59. She received a cash prize of Rs 50,000.
Ang Phurba Sherpa, who had climbed Himalayas twice, claimed top honours in the masters category with a timing of 20::26:25. Sherpa, who represented ZHUB-2, received Rs 75,000. Delhi’s Saminder Saluja (22::14:24) and local favourite Jigme D Denjongpam (27::58:37) finished second and third respectively. Saluja got Rs 50,000 and Jigme got Rs 30,000.
With a view to promoting mountain biking in Sikkim, Firefox Managing Director Shivender Singh, presented three cycles to three local riders who competed in the gurelling race. Brinda Mohan Subba (17th position, 17::36:00), Sisir Khartam (21st, 20:51:58) and Padam Subba (26th, 23::57:09) received standing ovation as they received the cycles.
Meanwhile, Padam who was provisionally leading after the ninth and final leg, was relegated to second position on account to time penalty.
Speaking on the occasion, Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Toursim Department, Sikkim Government, Mr GP Upadhyaya congratulated the cyclists for braving the weather, terrain and rain to finish the gruelling race. "It will be an annual affair. The Tourisim Department will also organise trekking and other adventure activities," reterited Mr Upadhyaya. "Gangtok has been dressed up like a bride on the occasion of the International Flower Show which will begin tomorrow," said the Tourism Secretary.