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This Ronaldo stays away from football to put India on world cycling map

This Ronaldo stays away from football to put India on world cycling map

Ronaldo Singh Laitonjam won a bronze in the team sprint event and a silver medal with a new national record in the men’s elite sprint…

Thursday, Jun 23

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Ronaldo Singh Laitonjam won a bronze in the team sprint event and a silver medal with a new national record in the men’s elite sprint race at the Asian Track Cycling championships that concluded in New Delhi on Wednesday.

India’s Ronaldo Singh Laitonjam in action during the Asian Track Cycling championships in New Delhi. – SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

“You’re probably a football fan, aren’t you?”

It’s not hard to guess why Ronaldo Singh Laitonjam gets asked this a lot.

Surprisingly though, for a young man from football-crazy Manipur, with the name he has, Ronaldo Singh Laitonjam confesses he has little interest in playing the sport. His association with football begins and ends, he says, with the circumstances of his birth.

The story, according to Ronaldo’s retelling, goes something like this. On the afternoon of 21st June 2002, CRPF trooper Roben Singh Laitonjam was in Srinagar watching Brazil play England in the quarterfinal of the FIFA World Cup. The game was only a distraction. Around 2,100 km away in Imphal, his wife was minutes away from delivering their first child. In the 50th minute of the match, with the scores level, Ronaldinho lined up a free kick. Roben made a bet with his fellow troopers – the ball was going in. Just as the Brazilian lobbed the ball over a despairing David Seaman, a call came in – his wife was going into labour.

“Just as the ball went in the goal, I must have started making an appearance. I think my dad won some […]

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