Nirjala, the "Mountain Queen," was born in Kumari Pati in Kathmandu, Nepal. Nirjala is one of two children, with a younger brother who is a keen road biker. Nirjala started out in her late teens as a professional model. For this career, she was required to keep fit, and it was through going to the gym that she got into first bodybuilding and then cycling.
In 2001, some friends suggested she try her luck in a mountain bike race, The Himalayan Mountain Bike Race Series, and she won the National Women's Category. This proved to be her inspiration to leave modelling and pursue a professional career as a cyclist for the Nepal National Team.
Nirjala's rise to fame and to working as a professional athlete for the Nepal National Team was beset by the difficulty that arose from the patriarchy-based society in which she grew up. Although she competed at a national and international level and at a higher level than the majority of Nepalese male riders, she was marginalized by her own national cycling association, which found sponsors and endorsements for her male counterparts. Despite this, she continued and found her own sponsors (like Qoroz Professional Titanium Bikes).
Nirjala's Notable Achievements:
- First Nepalese Woman to cycle 22 days from Lhasa (Tibet) to Everest Base Camp (North) to Kathmandu (Nepal)
- First female to Win (2 times) the Highest Altitude, Endurance race in the World, "The Yak Attack"
- First Nepalese Female to win a cycle race in the UK
- First Nepalese Cycle Athlete to compete in a UCI World Cup Finals
- First Nepalese Cycle Athlete to compete in South Asian Games
- First Nepalese Woman to complete a cycle race of the Annapurna Circuit
- Recipient of the - "Tamrakar Award Fund" - Ugrachandi Award (Nepal)
- Participated in the mountain biking competition at the 16th Asian Games in China in November 2010
She is now a keynote speaker and role model for young women in Nepal and all over the world who have grown up in oppressive societies but dream of being recognized for their sports and achievements. The British writer Jane Nobel Knight wrote a book titled "The Inspiring Journeys of Pilgrim Mothers" and included a chapter on Nirjala's struggle and eventual success in her field.
Nirjala is now married to her British husband, Daniel Wright, and has a son, Percy, and a daughter, Aurora. She is also a respected Mandala Artist (3-time Nepal National, Street Mandala Winner) and holds a Masters in Business Studies (MBS).
Nirjala recently completed her 10km swim race on 9th July in 5 hours, organized by MediaCity UK Swim Challenge.
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- Who is Nirjala
- Her passion for sports and fitness
- Wanting to do more challenging things in her life
- Her life in Nepal
- Being sent to a very academic school
- Her role as a girl in her household
- Her destiny in life
- Trying to make her parents happy
- Doing all the household chores from a young age
- Her teenage years and realising that she wanted more from life
- Getting into physical exercise, starting with yoga and then onto cycling
- Winning her first mountain bike race
- Meeting like minded people who enjoyed mountain biking
- How winning the race changed her life
- Not having the proper gear
- Feeling like somebody
- Not knowing what she needed to do to get to number 1 in the sport
- The next step in her journey
- Taking part in all the mountain biking races, while studying and working
- Wanting to know how she compared to other athletes around the world
- Wanting to compete with the best mountain biking athletes in the world
- Getting the opportunity to race for 10 days in Northern India in 2009
- Starting to win the international races
- The challenges she’s faced, from getting gear to finding sponsorship
- Racing for no prize money
- Funding her life and the financial struggle
- Racing in the World Cup in France
- The struggle of having to do everything by herself
- Facing a very technical route
- Having children and getting back on to the bike again
- Moving to the UK
- Dealing with the cold lake water
- Signing up for her first triathlon
- Dealing with pre race anxiety
- The women who have inspired Nirjala
- If you can dream big you can make it possible
- Connect with Nirjala on Facebook