A participant in action during the Kohima Downhill Mountain Bike Race. (Photo by Kelen Mekro)
Kohima, December 6 (MExN): Suman Tamang of Nepal won the 4th edition of Kohima Downhill Mountain Bike Race held at Viswema village, Kohima on December 4.
Tamang beat Apshai Griffith Niangti of Shillong and compatriot Prachit Thapa to claim the first prize. Niangti and Thapa were second and third respectively. Pune’s Gautam Taode and Ollie Hemstock from the United Kingdom finished fourth and fifth. Seyieo Sekhose was adjudged the Best Local Rider.
The race also paid tribute to popular Indian mountain biker Ajay Padval who came 4th in last year’s race. Ajay died in a mountain bike accident earlier this year in Leh, Ladakh.
Organized by Native Station Nagaland, the Kohima Downhill Challenge was sponsored by start-up cycle manufacturing company based in Pune – Psynyde Bikes and Nagaland based clothing start-up Winter Made.
Although coinciding with the Hornbill Festival, the Downhill Challenge had no support from the Nagaland Government with the organisers informing that it only had a budget of Rs. 75000 which was funded by several young Naga individuals.
In comparison to promotion of Mountain Biking as a very promising adventure tourism activity in North-East, the organisers claimed that the budget for Arunachal Pradesh’s Flight of Hornbill MTB Race was Rs. 35 lakhs while the Tawang MTB budget was also generously sponsored by the Arunachal Government.
Firestone medals made in Nagaland by Naga craftsman and entrepreneur Veta Huphrem were handed over to the winners by the young patrons.
The race track was designed by Ollie Hemstock of Hemstock Designs from United Kingdom along with the track design team from Nagaland comprising of Seyieo Sekhose, Kaolim Hanso, Kevilebo Zhotso and Kezevituo Seyie.
According to the organisers, its vision for Kohima Downill is not just about the race. “The objective of this event is for people from around the world to come explore our mountains with cycles, enjoy the beautiful serene terrains, fresh air, without polluting the environment, use muscle power and burn fats, not fuel,” it stated.