A first-of-its-kind premier Cyclothon event was flagged off from New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium yesterday. Organized under leadership of Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Dharmendra Pradhan, the Cyclothon attracted around 5,000 participants from all walks of life including officials from various Ministries and the Oil Industry, sports personalities, actor Farhan Akhtar, school and college children cycling professionals, amateurs and housewives. Dharmendra Pradhan, himself led the 5 km Green Ride amidst great excitement and fan-fare to create awareness for cycle.

Pradhan said that benefits of cycling are not only limited to protect environment or fuel conservation but it also carries huge health and fitness dividends. He further said that judicious use of various forms of energy and its conservation is a matter of vital importance to all of us for the betterment of our society and healthy environment.

Based on the distance to be covered, the Cyclothon featured four categories – Elite (Men – 45 km/women-27 km), Amateur (27 km), Open and the popular Green Ride. While the Elite and Amateur categories were for serious cyclists, the 9 km Open and the 5 km Green Rides allowed participants the experience the joy of cycling, while promoting fuel conservation, with the underlying message of reducing excessive dependency on oil for a cleaner and greener environment.

The winner in the Elite (Men’s) category was Satbir Singh, while the Elite Women’s championship was won by T Manorama Devi. Over 4,500 cyclists participated in the green ride amidst an atmosphere of gaiety and revelry, with almost all comfortably completing the 5 km stretch.

The Cyclothon under the banner of Saksham Pedal Delhi was organized by Petroleum Conservation & Research Association (PCRA), and supported by the oil companies viz. IOCL, BPCL, HPCL, ONGC, GAIL, OIL, MRPL, CPCL, NRL and IGL with technical guidance from Cycling Federation of India. Another 76 such cyclothons are planned Pan-India over the next 2 months to sensitize the country to adopt the ideology of conservation for a greener environment.

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