"That's probably why I got that name."
Two Indian cyclists at the Birmingham 2o22 Commonwealth Games attracted a lot of attention. But it was not for their performance, it was for their sporting names.
Both men were named after the famous footballers. Ronaldo Laitonjam is 20 years old and was actually named after Brazil’s Ronaldinho, whose full name is Ronaldo de Assis Moreira.
It is believed that the name choice came after Ronaldinho scored the iconic free-kick against England at the 2002 World Cup.
According to Ronaldo, just as Ronaldinho scored, his father received a call to say that his wife was going into labour.
Ronaldo said: “Just as the ball went in the goal, I must have started making an appearance.
“I think my dad won some money that day. That’s probably why I got that name. He felt I was very lucky for him.”
Ronaldo Laitonjam first discovered cycling at the age of 14 during a talent search competition.
At 17, he won India’s first gold medal as part of the men’s team sprint at the 2019 Junior Track Cycling World Championships in Germany.
Meanwhile, David Beckham Elkatohchoongo comes from a Manchester United-supporting family, whose favourite player is the English footballer.
David is from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in southern India and is just 18.
He took up cycling in 2017. He has been living with his grandfather since both his parents passed away.
David revealed that due to his name, there was an issue at the airport prior to the Commonwealth Games.
He explained: “When I got to the airport, the (passport) inspector said, ‘Is that really your name, David Beckham? You are lying, you are not David Beckham’.
“Then he saw my ID and had to concede that my real name was David Beckham.”
“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 taken out, he shall be named David Beckham’.
“I am a big fan of the English David Beckham because he was such a good player, my father loved him and is a really big fan of him.
“I would love to win a medal and meet him because I am in his country. My father and I would be so happy.
“Of course, I want to win – if you pedal well, you get good things back.”
While both cyclists received a lot of attention, their Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games campaign started on a disappointing note with all three teams failing to make the finals.
The Indian men’s sprint team finished sixth in qualification at the Lee Valley VeloPark in London.