Though Indian cyclists David Beckham and Ronaldo did not set the track ablaze with their performance in the men’s team sprint qualifying at the Lee Valley Velodrome in London, their unique first names did create a bit of stir and got them a lot of attention in this football-mad country.
With David Beckham, Ronaldo Singh and Y Rojit Singh could manage a timing of 44.7 to finish sixth, just ahead of Jamaica. Australia topped the standings with a Games Record effort of 42.222 as four teams advanced to the next stage.
Though their performance was good for a team coming from India, both David Beckham Elkathchoongo and Ronaldo Laitonjam were in the spotlight for their first names, invariably getting asked whether their names were real for their resemblance with footballers.
Asked how he got his name, David Beckham told the Games News Network that his father was a big fan of the English footballer David Beckham and named him after him.
“It is because my father was a professional street footballer. When I was in my mum’s tummy, in the hospital, my dad said ‘when the baby is born he shall be named David Beckham’.
“I am a big fan of David Beckham because he was a good player and my father loved him and is a really big fan of his.”
Asked how his first name has been received in England, he said, “When I got to the airport, the airport inspector said ‘is that really your name, David Beckham?’ He said ‘you are lying you are not David Beckham’. Then he saw my ID and that my name was David Beckham,” he said with a chuckle.
Ronaldo, named after a Brazilian football player by the name of Ronaldo De Assis Moreira otherwise better known as Ronaldinho, too was asked how he got his first name.
“My father was a really big football fan of the Brazilian Ronaldinho. When I was born in 2002, I think my father made a big bet on Ronaldo. He kicked a goal and I just came out, and that’s how my father made my name Ronaldo,” he said.
On being asked whether his name has brought him any confidence as an athlete, he said, “Of course. Ronaldinho and Ronaldo are the champions. I’m lucky that I’m carrying that name and following my path to be a champion.”
On the competition front, both David Beckham and Ronaldo said the pace of the race was too much for the two first-timers.
“It was amazing, it was my first race at the elite level. I’m so happy and I gave it my best. I work hard, I focus on my dream and I am moving forward. I want to become a big cyclist,” said David Beckham.
Ronaldo said they could not perform their best because one of the riders had fallen sick. “It’s my first race in the senior category. I was a junior before, in 2020, and then I won the (junior) world championships and that was really amazing. After that, this is my big stage right now. But one of the riders had fallen sick so we couldn’t perform our best.”
He said he has been staying in Europe for a long time and had a lot of races with these riders and therefore was not nervous.
“I have been staying in Europe for a long time and had a lot of races with these riders. I feel really confident so let’s see what I can do over the next few days,” he said.