Nishma Shrestha’s time starts by gazing astatine the golden medal she won astatine the Women’s Cycling Downhill lawsuit astatine the South Asian Games successful 2019. For the 25-year-old, that is much than conscionable a medal. It is simply a reminder of 7 years of hard enactment and sacrifices on with greater things that are successful store for her if she continues to enactment hard.
“It feels large to look astatine it aboriginal successful the morning,” she says. “I consciousness arrogant of what I person achieved truthful far. I consciousness I person travel a agelong way.”
Having taken portion successful implicit 60 races and won things successful a athletics that seldom sees pistillate athletes, she present hopes that she tin animate a young batch of pistillate cyclists who tin situation the stereotype and vie with the champion successful the satellite similar her antheral counterparts person done successful past fewer years.
An aboriginal vertebrate successful cycling community
Born successful Kathmandu, Shrestha had a low-key childhood. She was shy and introverted and ne'er truly had immoderate liking for the outdoors. But, that dilatory changed. By the clip she was successful her teens, she started to make a emotion for cycling acknowledgment to her family.
“My begetter was an outdoor idiosyncratic arsenic was my mamma. Both of them helped maine get into cycling,” she says.
By the clip she was 14, she regularly accompanied her uncle to Mudkhu Bhanjyang, a hub for upland bikers successful Kathmandu. There she saw the biking assemblage who were friendly, welcoming and, astir importantly, encouraging.
“Every clip I cycled there, I started to make a emotion for the sport. It grew connected me. It was hard astatine the beginning, but the restitution I got erstwhile I reached the destination made maine crave for Saturdays.”
Encouragement from the assemblage and her household built assurance successful her arsenic she started to rhythm regularly. Things got adjacent amended erstwhile her dad, who is besides a upland biking enthusiast, bought a upland motorcycle to spell to Langtang successful 2013. After helium returned, she started to spell retired regularly connected the bike. Mudkhu, which is 5 kilometres distant from her location successful Goldhunga connected the bluish outskirts of Kathmandu, started to go her 2nd home.
“The radical determination person ever been encouraging. They ever told maine however I should instrumentality portion successful races and events arsenic determination aren’t galore women successful the athletics and beryllium that idiosyncratic who tin assistance alteration that.”
There, she learnt astir antithetic types of events that took spot successful upland biking. First, she was told astir cross-country, past it was signifier races and yet downhill, which was taking its babe steps successful Nepal.
“Downhill ever appealed to maine more.”
By the clip she finished the 10th grade, she knew what she wanted to do. Having seen her passion, her parents besides fto her bash what she wanted to do. In a bid to get better, she regularly cycled to and from her precocious school. After completing precocious school, she adjacent took a twelvemonth disconnected to absorption connected her 1 existent emotion – upland biking.
“I’m gladsome they saw my passionateness and fto maine bash that. I’m precise thankful towards my parents.”
Deep into downhill
Her archetypal solo contention was Showdown Dharan successful 2015 successful which she stood second. The aforesaid year, she adjacent went to the Himalayan Mountain Bike Festival successful Manali, India, taking portion successful the unfastened category.
“Not winning these events lit a occurrence successful me. I was ambitious. I started grooming much due to the fact that I wanted to go the best.”
In 2016, she tried thing different. Having heard a batch astir downhill races, she took portion successful 1 during the Himalayan Outdoor Festival. This is the archetypal clip that a Nepali pistillate had taken portion successful the competition. She did not win, arsenic she had to vie successful the unfastened category, but she won a batch of fans and plaudits.
“A downhill rider is seen differently. It’s pugnacious and requires a batch of signifier and balance.”
Downhill races telephone for speeding down unsmooth and steep trails wherever cyclists person to manoeuvre their bikes connected constrictive tracks against stone gardens, and the trails diagnostic highly crisp turns, treacherous surfaces and galore different hurdles.
That year, she realised that she needed other grooming and started practising adjacent more. Tarebhir successful Shivapuri became her signifier way on with Khokona and Nagarkot. She says she calls downhill a subject alternatively than creation arsenic 1 has to survey angles arsenic they person ne'er earlier if they privation to bash downhill rides.
Also successful 2016, she started to instrumentality portion successful nationalist games too, but again owed to deficiency of women, she took portion mostly successful the unfastened category. That gave her assurance to instrumentality portion successful in 2017 Enduro Series.
The archetypal twelvemonth was much a learning acquisition portion her 2nd year, 2018, was the twelvemonth she announced her to the upland biking world.
Taking portion successful the three-part contention held successful Nepal, Malaysia and Thailand, Shrestha, won the bid arsenic she was astatine the podium successful races successful each 3 countries (3rd successful Nepal and Thailand and 1st successful Malaysia).
Faith successful the future
That paved her mode to instrumentality portion successful the South Asian Games successful 2019. Even though not galore pistillate cyclists had taken portion before, this clip a batch much had participated. As the nationalist champion, she qualified and trained with 4 others and took portion successful the SAG held successful Nepal.
With the content that she would win, she competed successful the downhill contention winning it comfortably. She won golden portion her teammate Jamuna Thapa won silver.
“It’s a time I volition ne'er forget,” she says.
But now, the situation to enactment determination is tough, she says. This is wherefore she inactive trains for 2 hours each day. She says that she wants to amended herself and go adjacent amended astatine downhills.
During the tourer season, she besides does immoderate guiding arsenic astir successful the upland biking country prolong themselves done it.
“It’s bully wealth and I besides rather bask doing this. I get to larn things and method and bask the institution of immoderate large pistillate riders who I get to conscionable on the way.”
For the future, her program is to proceed successful the athletics and assistance the aboriginal generation. While the athletics is getting amended for males, for females, she says, things are not arsenic great. She says that galore find it hard to enactment successful the athletics for agelong owed to assorted obligations including household pressure, determination is besides a feeling that the athletics has not reached retired to much women.
“There are a batch of young boys coming through. They are fearless and assured and skilful. For females, it’s bittersweet to accidental that the athletics is inactive acold distant from that. I don’t cognize wherefore but females are rather reluctant. I anticipation that it changes successful the future.”