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Sunday November 3, 2013 MYT 3:31:00 PM
Sunday November 3, 2013 MYT 4:37:50 PM
by lim teik huat
Filepic of national women's cyclist Ju Pa Somnet at the 2011 SUKMA Games. She finished 13th place in the final of the scratch race, the only Malaysian to make a final at the Track World Cup in Manchester on Saturday.
Azizul and Josiah were both eliminated in the first round of the keirin in the season-opening event, in which they previously won medals before.
It was certainly a blow to their reputations as they were seen as the best Asia has to offer when it comes to the thrilling discipline.
Josiah grabbed the Commonwealth Games gold medal in New Delhi in 2010 as Azizul was disqualified but it was the latter's turn to turn the tables at the Asian Games in Guangzhou shortly after that.
But all that looked like a distant past as Azizul and Josiah saw their campaign in keirin ended early after failing to win their respective repechages.
Azizul and Josiah needed to win the repechage to survive to the second round after they failed to emerge as out-right winners of their respective first round five-rider heat.
But to be fair, Azizul and Josiah had it tough as they had to deal with the likes of world champion Maximilian Lexy of Germany and Olympic sprint gold medallist Jason Kenny of Great Britain in their respective heats.
Fatehah Mustapa also received a hard jolt as her qualifying time of 11.630 only placed her in 21st position and thus missing out on the top-16 elimination rounds for women's sprint, the event in which she romped to gold at the Asian Championships in New Delhi in March this year.
Hong Kong's Lee Wai Sze, the keirin bronze medallist at London Olympics last year, flew the flag for Asia as she beat reigning Olympic champion Anna Meares of Australia in women's sprint semis but settled for silver with defeat by Kristina Vogel of Germany.
Although the cyclists failed to make an impact, Malaysian National Cycling Federation deputy president Datuk Naim Mohamad said there is no reason to be worried.
"It is still early in the season and I am sure coach John Beasley has his plans in place to get them to peak for the targeted Games.
"It's a good indicator as we know their current condition and where we need to build on over the next few months," he said.
17-year-old Mohd Shah Sahrom Firdaus combined with Mohd Edrus Yunos and Josiah for the first time to place Malaysia 14th in the team sprint qualifying rounds.
The trio clocked a decent time of 46.004 to be ranked the third best Asian team after Japan (ninth, 44.811) and China (12th, 45.002).
Ju Pha Somnet also did well to qualify for the scratch race final, where she eventually placed 13th.
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