Nirjala Tamrakar – The Tigress From Nepal




Nirjala Tamrakar

Nirjala Tamrakar

It’s November 2010 and Nepal’s Number 1, female, Mountain Biker has just returned from The 16th Asian Games in China back to her homeland after more than 4 weeks of travelling in Asia for racing.

Nirjala Tamrakar has been riding professionally for 10 years and at just 31 years old she is at the top of her sport. Having Won the female category in the 540km, 8 day, 6th Hercules Himachal Mountain Bike race in Shimla, North India in the last 2 weeks of October the result she took as 8th place in a race of 8 riders in Guangzhou was not just disappointing for her but a real kick in the teeth after so many years of hard work. Ever the optimist she told the National Chinese press when they interviewed her after the race “I must continue to push myself to be more competitive and to keep gaining more points for UCI World Cup qualification”. This “CAN DO” attitude from the girl from “KATHMANDU” is typical of her grit and determination to succeed against all obstacles. It seems her own country cares very little for supporting her whilst at the same time is constantly pushing her in the media at home to do well for NEPAL.

Luckily for Nirjala a civilian Company in Nepal, “Dawn till Dusk”, which is associated with the sport, through a dedicated effort managed to procure the Mountain Bike team’s tickets at the last minute. The tickets which the Sports Ministry bought to fly Nepal’s athletes team to China still hadn’t been bought the night before their flight. And as was reported in the Nepali Times the day after the Athletes flew: “Staff at the Council allege that officials were scheming for commissions till the very last minute, which led to the delay in purchasing tickets”.

It’s little wonder then that whilst the Chinese and Japanese riders who took the first 4 places in China were training for months in advance on the race course, Nirjala who arrived just 2 days before her race and even then was prevented from riding the course by the massively over tight Chinese security who wouldn’t give her access to her bike as her “tools posed a security threat”, was lapped out in the 2nd circuit of the 32km race. To add insult to potentially serious injury the course she rode was at such a technically high level that she had to push her bike down the downhill sections purely because the Nepalese Sports Ministry provides no form of coaching or technical training or equipment to its riders who have to rely on their own resources to fund their every move. Nirjala wasn’t the only rider to face these difficulties and out of the 8 countries in the women’s race the 3 poorest were all lapped out. Hardly then a fair race but not the fault of the participating countries.

So what now? Well 10 years of absolute dedication to racing doesn’t just get pushed aside because of a little bad luck! At least not in Nirjala’s case! She is even more determined to find the funding and find a way to train in the technical areas she needs to and step it up to the next level. Since China she will have a World UCI ranking and has gained more points towards her bid for a place at the 2012 Olympics in the UK for which she needs to gain 200 points between now and then. Her intensive personal training regime of getting up at 5am every day to ride up to 100km at altitude in all weather and on some of the toughest off road tracks in the World has made her both very strong and very determined. This passion for her sport coupled with the support of the sponsors she has so far managed to attract will keep her working towards that elusive goal.

Nirjala’s main sponsor DRUID CYCLES in London has been helping her with the costs of her flights and specialist equipment but equally importantly with coverage for her fans and in encouraging her too. Having a metaphorical shoulder to lean on is often just as important for riders at this level as having the bike under her and DRUID CYCLES has been there every step of the way since coming on board.

Nirjala has the ability, she has the stamina and the support now all she needs is for her Country to recognise her potential and support her properly and for enough sponsorship to get her trained and get her back on the racing circuit. The 2011 season is almost upon her and Nirjala Tamrakar like the tiger tattoo on her calf is definitely a “Tigress from Nepal” to watch out for.

By: Dan Wright

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