DHARAN, Dec 3: Narayan Gopal Maharjan of Kathmandu clinched the title of the Riders and MTB Zone Challenge 2012 (Marathon Cross Country MTB Race) here in Dharan on Monday.
Maharjan remained ahead of other 24 riders in the first-ever cycling tournament organized in the eastern region of the country. He clocked 1 hour, 41 minutes and 15 seconds to cover the 52km distance of the race and received a championship trophy, gold medal and Rs 35,000 cash.
Maharjan had finished on the third position in the National Championship held earlier this year and clinched MTB Hercules Himachal 2012 in India two months ago. He had finished the Yak Attack 2012 in the second position.
"I´m happy to become a champion," said Maharjan. "I´m also excited to see such a beautiful track in the eastern region," he added.
Altogether 25 riders, including 17 from Kathmandu and eight from Dharan, participated in the race. There were two woman participants, one each from Kathmandu and Dharan.
National Champion Ajay Pandit Chhetri finished second as he completed the race in 1 hour, 43 minutes and 31 seconds. Buddhi Bahadur Tamang clocked 1:45:49 to claim third position. Chhetri received Rs 20,000 while Tamang bagged Rs 10,000.
Pandit said that it was his first race after three-month long injury layoff. "I had not expected to finish in the second position as it was my first race after sustaining injury during a race in Europe three months ago," said Pandit.
Between the participating two women, Laxmi Thapa Magar completed the race in two hours, 40 minutes and 40 seconds and received Rs 5,000 cash and a winner trophy.
National Sports Council (NSC) Vice President Pitambar Timsina and president of the host club, Riders and MTB Zone, Uttar Kumar Rai gave away the prizes to the winners.
The race started from the height of 1420m at Bhedetar of Dhankuta, took the route of Namje, Okhre Bazar of Dhankuta, then descending through Yangsila, Kerabari and Dangi of Morang district before finally ending in Dharan.