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Monday January 13, 2014 MYT 6:10:00 PM
Monday January 13, 2014 MYT 10:54:18 PM
by lim teik huat
Muhd Firdaus Mohd Zonis took all three sprint titles - 1km time trial, keirin and sprint - at the Hong Kong International Track Cup. - Filepic
PETALING JAYA: Junior cyclist Muhd Firdaus Mohd Zonis was the toast of the Malaysian team as he pulledoff an impressive clean sweep of all three sprint titles at stake in the Hong Kong International Track Cup.
In the three-day race held to inaugurate the newly-built Hong Kong International Velodrome, Farina Shawati Mohd Adnan also claimed gold for Malaysia in the girls’ keirin final.
The stocky Firdaus, 17, delivered the first of his three gold medals by posting 1:06.355 in the boys’ junior 1km time trial final.
It was not his fastest time as he had clocked 1:05.092 en route to sixth placing in the Track World Junior Championships in Glasgow last year, but it was enough to hand Malaysia the first gold of the meet.
There was no stopping Firdaus as he romped to a stylish win in the keirin final and he completed his golden treble by beating Taiwan’s Kang Shi Feng convincingly in two heats for the sprint title.
In the girls category, 17-year-old Farina made up for the disappointment of losing out to Gong Wan Ling from Shanghai Cycling Team in three heats in the sprint final a day earlier by sneaking from behind to win the six-rider keirin final race.
Farina had also claimed bronze in the 500m time trial with a time of 39.487. But the star of the day was Firdaus, who won all three disciplines of track sprinting.
It was not his first time excelling as he also won three gold medals in the junior ranks of the Asian Cycling Championships in New Delhi last year.
Malaysian National Cycling Federation deputy president Datuk Naim Mohamad was delighted all four gold medals came from the junior ranks as it brings hope for the country’s cycling future.
“The juniors are our bets for the future and they have shown their ability to win in Asia.
“Firdaus is still eligible for another world junior meet (to take place in Seoul in August) and his form means we can bank on him for this year’s Asian championships in Kazakhstan (in May),” he said.
Meanwhile, Mohd Fakhruddin Daud, son of the late cycling star Daud Ibrahim, delivered bronze for Malaysia in the men’s elite 1km time trial in 1:06.755.
South Korea’s Im Jae-yeon took the gold with 1:05.508 ahead of Ben Abels, representing Track Cycling Western Australia, who clocked 1:06.304.
Afiq Huznie Othman also took the bronze in the men’s junior individual pursuit as Malaysia finished with a final tally of 4-1-3.
Mohd Edrus Yunus missed out on a medal when he lost the playoff for bronze in the men’s elite sprint while Ummi Hamimah was fifth in the women’s elite 500m time trial final won by Hong Kong star and current world champion Lee Wai Sze.
The Hong Kong International Track Cup is a UCI Class 1 ranked-event offering Olympic qualification points for the elite ranks.
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