Ped­alling into ‘gold­mine’

New Straits Times - - Sport -

SEEN as the “gold­mine” of the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games (KL2017), cy­cling is of­fer­ing 20 gold medals through three dis­ci­plines: track, road, and BMX. And Malaysia are tar­get­ing 13.

The Malaysian Na­tional Cy­cling Fed­er­a­tion (MNCF) pro­jected the track squad will win 11 of the 13 events while the other two gold medals are ex­pected to come from the road cy­clists.

Last week, it was re­ported the tick­ets for track cy­cling events on Au­gust 29 were sold out as Malaysians hope to catch a glimpse of keirin world cham­pion, Az­izul­hasni Awang in ac­tion at the Na­tional Velo­drome in Ni­lai.

Az­izul, who made the na­tion proud when he won the World Track Cy­cling Cham­pi­onships in Hong Kong in March, hopes to pro­duce stun­ning re­sults at the Sea Games in front of his friends and fam­ily when he com­petes in the men’s in­di­vid­ual sprint and keirin.

Muham­mad Shah Fir­daus Sahrom will also be in ac­tion in front of the home crowd as the Asian Cy­cling Con­fed­er­a­tion (ACC) Track Cy­cling bronze medal­list is set to race in the men’s in­di­vid­ual sprint along­side Az­izul, the 1km time trial and team sprint.

Shah Fir­daus, who clinched his maiden World Cup medal in Fe­bru­ary, came in third be­hind win­ner South Korean Park Jeone and run­ner-up Aus­tralian Matthew Glaetzer in the men’s keirin fi­nal at the ITS Mel­bourne Grand Prix re­cently.

In Mel­bourne, Shah Fir­daus wasn’t the only one who col­lected a medal as women track cy­clist Fate­hah Mustapa took home the bronze medal af­ter she and team­mates Anis Amira Ro­sidi and Fa­rina Shawati Adnan, placed third in the women’s sprint team event.

Fate­hah is set to make her third ap­pear­ance at the Sea Games and will be com­pet­ing in four events which in­clude women’s in­di­vid­ual sprint, keirin, 500m time trial and the team sprint event.

The two-time Olympian will be the only track ath­lete to com­pete in the most num­ber of events at the Sea Games.

Track cy­cling head coach John Beasley ad­mit­ted it is a big ask but does not doubt that Fate­hah can de­liver fol­low­ing her past re­sults at Sea Games.

In 2011, Fate­hah took home three gold medals in sprint, 500m time trial and team sprint with Jupha Som­net. Aside from Fate­hah’s three-gold medals, Malaysia won a to­tal of seven out of 12 events in In­done­sia, which was the last time track cy­cling was held in the Sea Games.

In the road cat­e­gory, all six boys from the Pro-Asia Tereng­ganu Cy­cling Team (TSG) have been listed for the Sea Games to race in the mass start and cri­terium cat­e­gories.

The six are Mohd Har­rif Saleh and brother, Zamri, Anuar Manan, Muham­mad Adiq Hu­sainie Oth­man, Mohd Shahrul Mat Amin and Nur Amir­ull Fakhrud­din Mazuki.

Road sprint spe­cial­ist Har­rif, showed he is re­cov­er­ing well from the hip in­jury he sus­tained at the Tour of Korea last month when he won the open­ing stage and came in third in the sec­ond at the Tour of the Great South Coast.

Pre­vi­ously, Har­rif won two gold medals at the Sin­ga­pore Sea Games to end a decade-long gold drought for Malaysia on the road.

A dras­tic step by MNCF was to re­call Muham­mad Fauzan Ah­mad Lutfi, who with­drew from the na­tional team be­fore, and he will be en­ter­ing the team’s time trial along­side three young­sters – Muham­mad Ameer and Muham­mad Ameen Ah­mad Ka­mal as well as Nik Mohd Azwan Zulk­i­fle.

In the women’s cat­e­gory, Jupha will be the one to look out for as she aims to go for gold in the cri­terium af­ter only manag­ing a bronze medal in 2015 when Sin­ga­pore played host to the games.

The 24-year-old is also set to start in two more cat­e­gories which in­clude mass start and om­nium.

In BMX, na­tional coach Mohd Arif Syukri Ah­mad Sabti is en­trust­ing Ah­mad Syazrin Awang Ilah, Muham­mad Elmi Ju­mari, Noor Qu­raataina Ma­mat and Ari­ana Nur­minda Ariffin the task of bring­ing home the gold.

Syazrin and Qu­raataina are both the na­tional cham­pi­ons for the men’s and women’s cat­e­gories, re­spec­tively for the year 2017.

Road will be the first cy­cling event to be con­tested at the Sea Games when it takes place on Au­gust 21-24. This will see cy­clists go through Pu­tra­jaya and Ni­lai where five gold medals are up for grabs.

Next will be BMX that is set to take place on Au­gust 26 where two gold medals are on of­fer and will be con­tested at the Na­tional BMX Arena in Ni­lai.

Track cy­cling will com­mence on Au­gust 27-29 at the newly built Na­tional Velo­drome in Ni­lai where 13 events will be con­tested.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.