Pedalling for gold
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.