Mon, 11 Dec 2023

HANGZHOU, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Two young Indian cyclists found themselves in the spotlight at the Hangzhou Asiad due to sharing names with world-class football stars.

20-year-old David Beckham Elkatohchoongo was quick to share with Xinhua that his name was a direct result of his father's lifelong passion for football. His father had once been a member of the Indian national football team and a devoted Manchester United fan, as well as an ardent follower of the legendary midfielder David Beckham.

"My parents were discussing my name at the hospital before I was born. My father said, 'If it's a boy, let's name him David Beckham,'" the cyclist told.

As fate would have it, the birth of Elkatohchoongo brought immense joy to the family. Under the influence of his father, David stepped onto the football field at a young age but switched to cycling at the age of 14.

"For the past five years, I've been training in Italy, gradually becoming a professional cyclist," said the Indian.

Sharing a name with a well-known footballer meant that Elkatohchoongo attracted attention from an early age, with the British media often focusing on the young man.

He shared an amusing anecdote about being questioned by officials at the airport.

"The officer asked, 'Is your name really this?' He thought I was lying, saying, 'You're not really Beckham.' It wasn't until he saw my ID card that he had to admit that it was indeed my name."

Elkatohchoongo's teammate also had a similarly significant name.

Ronaldo Singh Laitonjam was named after his father's admiration for the Brazilian football star Ronaldinho. However, the 21-year-old did not develop a love for football but instead had a passion for cycling from a young age.

Beyond their attention-grabbing names, both young cyclists possess impressive skills and are considered representatives of India's rising cycling scene. Ronaldo had secured silver medals in the men's sprint and the men's 1-km time trial at the Asian Championships in the past two years.

In the men's team sprint event held on Tuesday, they represented the Indian team and finished fifth overall at their Asiad debut.

The ex-captain of England demonstrated composure and poise, always finding a way to break through in critical moments.

And the Indian David also displayed remarkable maturity, staging a thrilling comeback to defeat Kazakhstan's rider to advance in the men's sprint 1/16 final. The 20-year-old was also set to compete in the men's keirin cycling event.

"It's the first time to race in Asian Games, and I am so excited to perform," he shared, "My target is win a medal for India, and I hope I will do my best."

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