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Tuesday November 5, 2013 MYT 6:39:00 PM
Tuesday November 5, 2013 MYT 6:44:14 PM
by lim teik huat
Fatehah Mustapa in a file photo. Coach John Beasley believes Fatehah can only improve as the season progresses.
PETALING JAYA: Coach John Beasley welcomes a rejuvenated Fatehah Mustapa who made the keirin final at the season-opening Track World Cup meet in Manchester, saying he feels it will be good for her confidence.
The Melbourne-based cyclist got her breakthrough by winning the keirin gold at the Asian Championships in Kuala Lumpur last year but failed to rise to the occasion at the London Olympics in August.
She was on the verge of quitting but had a change of heart and instead returned to training before winning a second title at the Asian Championships in New Delhi early this year.
Fatehah continued from where she left off by progressing to the top six in the keirin final in Manchester, thus earning points towards the 2016 Olympics qualification process.
Beasley is taking the positives from the performance of Fatehah and feels his charge will only improve as the season progresses.
“She is getting better and better as she matures and I am extremely happy with her performance. If she keeps making these big finals, it will not be long before we see her win one at this level.
“I believe now she knows she can mix it with the best, We just did not have any luck as she drew position 6 in the final and almost pulled off a great move but got a big check from Hong Kong’s Lee Wai Sze when coming around the field and that almost knocked her off the bike.
“That is racing the keirin and those things happen sometimes.
“She just did not have a lucky draw this time though. It will not always be like that, so you take the good with the bad,” said Beasley before flying home to Melbourne.
Beasley was also pleased with the performance of fellow elite cyclists Azizulhasni Awang and Josiah Ng.
Azizul chalked a new national record of 10.115, just missing out on the top 16 for the elimination rounds of sprint.
The former Asian champion’s scorching time only ranked him 17th in a field that saw the top nine sprinters all dipping under 10 seconds with even reigning Olympic champion Jason Kenny of Britain missing out in 24th placing.
“I am extremely happy with Azizul’s performance and it shows his training is well on track for next year.
“We still have a long way to go, though things are moving in the right direction and we are very close to once more being able to mix in the sprint with the best.
“I am hoping that come Mexico (the second leg in December), we may be able to make it into the sprint rounds, and once we make the rounds, it gets very competitive.
“The good sign is that Josiah also rode his fastest ever time at a World Cup event.
“As for the keirin, we made a mess of it at this competition only because both the boys made poor choices tactically and that does not happen very often. I know they have both learnt from this weekend, so we will be much better in that event at our next World Cup also.”
In keirin, both Azizul and Josiah were eliminated in the first round of their respective heats.
Tags / Keywords:
cycling, keirin, John Beasley, Fatehah Mustapa, Azizulhasni Awang, Josiah Ng
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