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Monday November 4, 2013 MYT 4:14:00 PM
Monday November 4, 2013 MYT 4:26:01 PM
by lim teik huat
Fatehah Mustapa (front) seen here after winning the keirin final at the Asian Championships in Kuala Lumpur last year, reached the final of the same race in the World Cup in Manchester on Sunday. - Filepic
KUALA LUMPUR: Woman cyclist Fatehah Mustapa provided the cheers for the Malaysian camp by making it to the keirin final at the season-opening Track World Cup meet in Manchester on Sunday.
Fatehah showed she has the aptitude to hack it on the elite field and even bested Hong Kong's Lee Wai Sze, who claimed bronze in the same event at the London Olympics and finished second in the sprint on Saturday, to take the top two automatic slots for the second round.
Wai Sze had to go through the hard way to win the repechage to earn her place in the second round.
Fatehah went on to reach the final after finishing in the top three of her second round heat.
Fatehah, however, finished last in the elite keirin field, which saw Kristina Vogel of Germany following up on her sprint success a day before to claim a double victory.
British youngster Rebecca Angharad took silver ahead of France's Sandie Clair with Wai Sze just missing out on a medal.
Still, there were valuable ranking points earned by Fatehah towards qualification for the 2016 Olympics in Rio for reaching the World Cup final race, which saw reigning Olympic keirin champion Anna Meares knocked out in the second round.
Azizulhasni Awang had earlier clocked a personal best time of 10.115 in the 200m sprint flying lap but still missed out in a super fast field.
The former Asian champion's scorching time only ranked him 17th in a field that saw the top nine sprinters all going under 10 seconds.
The top 16 finishers go through to the elimination rounds.
Team-mate Josiah Ng also posted his personal best of 10.247 but was only ranked 31st, as Germany's Robert Forstemann topped qualifying with 9.799, just a fraction shy of France's Kevin Sireau's world record of 9.572.
Malaysian National Cycling Federation deputy president Datuk Naim Mohamad admitted much more work needed to be done when the squad returns to their base in Melbourne after this.
"The overall level has risen tremendously as we can see from the timings. Previously, a 10.115 flying lap would have been fantastic, but as we can see, it still was not enough for Azizulhasni.
"Even the Olympic champion Jason Kenny failed to qualify for the knockout round of the sprint (his time of 10.154 only place him 24th fastest).
"Even Josiah's time was an improvement. Our riders have the form but the results show that we have some catching up to do," he said.
Tags / Keywords:
Fatehah Mustapa, cycling, Azizulhasni Awang, Manchester
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