Tale of the Kerala Police Professional Cyclist – The New Indian Express

Express press service

KOCHI: He may be the only professional cyclist in Kerala Police. And he is busy preparing for the Indian National Rally Championship to be held in December in Goa. But that’s not what sets 40-year-old Jeemon Antony apart. These are the two titanium rods that stabilize his spine, helping the police driver from the Edappally traffic station in Kochi to stand.

Jeemon first donned the racing suit when he was 18 years old. “There was a runner in our locality named Biju John,” he recalls. “Wearing the racing suit, he once passed me on his Yamaha RX 135. That image, that moment struck me. I was curious and went to watch his practice sessions. It became a routine and, little by little, I took motorsport seriously.

Despite financial difficulties, passion fuels his exploits in motorsport circuits. The year 2000 to 2007 was Jeemon’s golden period. He got podiums in 35 out of 40 bike races. Lack of funding, however, forced him to put aside his professional racing dreams. “The equipment itself costs around Rs 5 lakh and then the cost of maintaining the vehicle,” says Jeemon.

After a few years, Jeemon went for a ride to the Ladakh-Khardungla pass. Back home, he bought a Royal Enfield Himalayan in order to hit the Ladakhi pitch again. “In 2018, I heard about an all-terrain bike rally in Wayanad. It was for Himalayan riders. I tried and finished second. Soon, I started to participate in 550cc rallies,” he says. In 2020, however, his “racing life” came to a screeching halt. Jeemon had to undergo two surgeries to treat a bulge on his disc. He remained bedridden.

It started with a nagging back pain, which Jeemon had continued to ignore. “Once, while I was on duty, I felt a sharp pain in my thighs. It got worse than the next day; I couldn’t even plant my feet on the ground,” he recalls.

“Subsequently, I had a keyhole operation, but it only resulted in complications. I was bedridden for a month. With further treatment, I could get up, but it took me five minutes to keep moving. Then Jeemon underwent open surgery and the doctors reinforced his spine with titanium rods. “The doctors advised a minimum of movement. They were worried that I could not even lift a bucket water,” he says. “It meant putting an end to my passion – horse riding.” Jeemon, who was also a national level footballer, would not give up. He started exercise programs and is gradually returned to “full power”.

“With the workouts, Jeemon lost 22 pounds. “I didn’t take expert advice. I took a big risk. I would advise people against doing the same,” he says. a year, Jeemon was back to what he loves the most, he participated in the 2021 Himalayan Rally, and came in fifth.

Jeemon’s next dream is the Indian National Rally Championship. “It will probably be my last,” he says. “My department is supportive, but I’m thinking of saying goodbye due to the lack of financial support.”

KOCHI: He may be the only professional cyclist in Kerala Police. And he is busy preparing for the Indian National Rally Championship to be held in December in Goa. But that’s not what sets 40-year-old Jeemon Antony apart. These are the two titanium rods that stabilize his spine, helping the police driver from the Edappally traffic station in Kochi to stand. Jeemon first donned the racing suit when he was 18 years old. “There was a runner in our locality named Biju John,” he recalls. “Wearing the racing suit, he once passed me on his Yamaha RX 135. That image, that moment struck me. I was curious and went to watch his practice sessions. It became a routine and, little by little, I took motorsport seriously. Despite financial difficulties, passion fueled his exploits in motorsport circuits. The year 2000 to 2007 was Jeemon’s golden period. He got podium finishes in 35 out of 40 bike races. Lack of funding, however, forced him to put aside his dreams of professional racing.” The equipment itself costs around Rs 5 lakh and then the cost of maintenance of the vehicle,” Jeemon explains. After a few years, Jeemon went for a ride at the Ladakh-Khardungla pass. Back home, he bought a Royal Enfield Himalayan in order to hit the Ladakhi terrain again. “In 2018, I heard about a dirt bike rally in Wayanad. It was for Himalayan riders. I tried and finished second. Soon I started doing 550cc rallies,” he says. In 2020, however, his “pilot life” came to a screeching halt. Jeemon had to undergo two surgeries to treat a bulge on his disc. He remained bedridden. It started with a nagging back pain, which Jeemon had continued to ignore. “Once, while I was on duty, I felt a sharp pain in my thighs. It got worse than the next day; I couldn’t even plant my feet on the ground,” he recalls. “Subsequently, I had a keyhole operation, but it only resulted in complications. I was bedridden for a month. With further treatment, I could get up, but it took me five minutes to keep moving. Then Jeemon underwent open surgery and the doctors reinforced his spine with titanium rods. “The doctors advised a minimum of movement. They were worried that I could not even lift a bucket water,” he says. “It meant putting an end to my passion – horse riding.” Jeemon, who was also a national level footballer, would not give up. He started exercise programs and is gradually returned to “full power.” With the workouts, Jeemon lost 22 pounds. “I did not take expert advice. I took a big risk. I would advise people against doing the same,” he says. Within a year, Jeemon was back to what he loves most. He participated in the 2021 Himalayan Rally, and came in fifth. Jeemon’s next dream is the Indian National Rally Championship. “It will probably be my last,” he says. “My department is supportive, but I’m thinking of saying goodbye due to the lack of financial support.”

Earnest L. Veasey