Ped­alling for gold

The Star Malaysia - - Front Page -

Blind cy­clist Muhd Afiq Afify Rizan is aim­ing for a three-gold sweep at the KL Asean Para Games.

KUALA LUMPUR: Track cy­cling will kick off Malaysia’s gold medal quest in the Kuala Lumpur Asean Para Games.

Para cy­clist Muhd Afiq Afify Rizan is the man ev­ery­one will be look­ing to as Malaysia be­gins its chase for the 103-gold tar­get.

Track cy­cling will make its de­but at the Games with seven out of the 12 gold medals to be de­cided at the Na­tional Velo­drome in Ni­lai, Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan, to­day.

Blind cy­clist Afiq is hop­ing to make Malaysia proud by mak­ing a clean sweep of all three gold medals at stake in the track events.

He will ride be­hind pi­lot Mohd Khairul Adha Ra­sol and vie for gold in men’s tan­dem 1km time trial (B), tan­dem sprint (B) and tan­dem 4km in­di­vid­ual pur­suit (B).

Afiq has an­other rea­son for want­ing to ex­cel.

He wants to make his road race team-mates, who were in­volved in an ac­ci­dent last week, proud.

His team­mates in the road squad – Nor Rizuan Zainal, Muhd Nur Syafiq Suhaimy, Muhd Khairul Nizam Ali and Mohd Khairul Azwan Wa­hab – and coach Jo­hari Nayan were hit by a four-wheel drive while train­ing on the Kuala Lumpur-Kuala Se­lan­gor high­way.

Pi­lots Nor Rizuan (spinal in­jury) and Nur Syafiq (frac­tured leg) are out of the Asean Para Games.

“What hap­pened was very sad for us in the cy­cling fra­ter­nity but it won’t put us off the sport.

“We can only pray that they re­cover fully from the in­ci­dent. I’m more mo­ti­vated to win all the events as I want to ded­i­cate my vic­to­ries to them.

“They worked so hard but are un­able to com­pete be­cause of the ac­ci­dent.

“We (the track cy­clists) need to win as many golds as pos­si­ble. I will com­pete in the team sprint and 1km time trial, so it will be nice to win the first gold of the Games for Malaysia,” said the 21-year-old, who made his­tory with Khairul by rid­ing to a bronze in tan­dem sprint (B) at the World Para Cy­cling Track Cham­pi­onships in Los An­ge­les in March.

A to­tal of 14 gold medals will be con­tested in road cy­cling at Pu­tra­jaya on Sept 20 and 21.

Malaysia hopes to win at least 10 out of the 26 gold medals at stake in cy­cling.

Pedal power: Afiq (left) and team mate Mohd Na­jib Tu­rano are pumped for vic­tory.

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