When he was young, he started fiddling with his father’s cycle mostly on one leg as he wasn’t tall enough to ride it properly. As the wheels of time kept on passing, so did his efforts to speed up his peddling.15 years down the line, he managed to qualify the trails for India camp and even managed to move much ahead.
Bilal Ahmad Dar, 21, is an ace cyclist from Check-i-Kaswoosa village of Budgam who is currently preparing for the Asian Championship to be held in Malaysia in 2023.
He opted for professional cycling in 2017 and appeared in selection trials held at Bakshi stadium for the India camp conducted by the Sports Authority of India (SAI).
He says that he recently secured the first position in the road cycling category in the second annual cycling race from Baramulla to Kaman Post Uri covering a distance of 75 km in which 357 participated from across the country.
He is currently pursuing Bachelor in Physical Education and Sports (BPES) at Guru Nanak Dev University Amritsar and is preparing for the Asian championship.
"I get through tough training schedule for upcoming Asian Championship which will be held in Malaysia next year,” he said.
He says that not everything went smoothly in his cycling journey as some medical issues forced him to stop the sport he loved the most.
He discontinued cycling for two years owing to some medical conditions for which he underwent a surgery around his groin area.“Now I have resumed cycling after recovering from my surgery,” he says.
The Kashmiri cyclist has some 16 medals to his credit including three silver and one bronze in the Asian championship and four consecutive golds in junior nationals.
"I am aiming not only to get a gold medal at the Senior Asian games but in Olympics and Commonwealth too," he says.
His performance won him accolades not from fellow cyclists but from former Indian cricketer VVS Laxman and politician Omar Abdullah.
He came into the view when he qualified trails at a talent hunt in Srinagar attended by former Indian cyclist and Arjuna Award winner Amar Singh.“I came first among over 200 people who competed in multi-disciplines,” he said.
On the insistence of Singh, he shifted to Delhi where he trained under experienced coaches.
Talking about his training schedule, he said that he is pedaling 100-120 km twice a week, besides other cardio workouts.
"I have received several awards including an J&K's outstanding sportsperson award, State award, Rangil Singh award, etc.," he says.