Aman Punjani – alumnus turned state cycling champion | Aga Khan Academies

Aman Punjani – alumnus turned state cycling champion

Aman Punjani graduated from the Aga Khan Academy Hyderabad in 2016 and took a gap year to pursue his career as a competitive cyclist. He was the U-18 and is now the U-23 Telangana state champion. In November 2018, Aman became the first cyclist from the state in 25 years to win a gold medal at the 23rd National Road Cycling Championship, in both the 40km Individual Time Trial and 100km Mass Start events. Currently, Aman is a full-time athlete and a developmental rider of Ciclo Team Racing, India’s only elite amateur cycle racing team. He trains every day and clocks an average of 500 kilometers per week, working on various aspects such as speed and endurance on different terrain, and works on strength in the gym. 

With a mission to put Indian cyclists on the international racing map, Ciclo Team Racing focuses on all aspects of rider development including training, coaching, nutrition, equipment and racing. In May 2017, Aman finished first in the prestigious Elite Men’s category at the Bangalore Bicycle Championships (BBCH).

Aman’s riding career began when he bought a road bike to start competing in triathlons as part of his IB MYP Personal Project, which was to write a book for triathletes. His first competitive race was in January 2014, when he was in grade 10, and later that 

year he won the overall championship in the inaugural edition of the Hyderabad Racing League. At the national competitions in the same year, he placed 7th in the road race which fueled his desire to continue riding, racing and perfecting his performance.

In 2015, Aman spent a month training in Belgium as part of the Indian Pro Cycling Project’s ‘Class of 2015.’ One year later at the nationals, he placed 5th in the U-23 category. “This is just the beginning of something big,” says Aman. “My goals for the year ahead are to make it to a U-23 development team in the US, and to represent India at the Asian and world championships.”

Aman again headed to Europe (Belgium and Switzerland) for a month in July 2017 where he trained and raced with bikers from all over the world. He is presently studying Psychology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has been diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia, and wants to better understand these conditions and assist those with similar issues. Biking has been, for him, therapy in itself.

When asked which part of the Academy education most impacted him, he says, “The service component. It’s something I carry forward, even though I’m not in school, even though it’s not required. I tend to look out for people who aren’t as lucky or fortunate or talented as I am because I’ve had the right support. I look forward to putting more people in that position.”

The Academy is incredibly proud to have as its alumnus such a dedicated and gifted athlete who leads in his field at the age of 20. We wish him all the best as he sets his sights on the international cycling circuit!