Fatehah Mustapa shows off her keirin silver medal won at the World Cup track cycling event in Guadalajara, Mexico on Sunday.
PETALING JAYA: Having announced her arrival on the world stage in style, track cyclist Fatehah Mustapa is determined to stay there.
Her best season in the Track World Cup, which culminated with a historic silver medal in the final round in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Sunday saw Fatehah breaking into the top five in the world rankings for women’s elite keirin for the first time.
She jumped to fourth behind third-placed Rebecca Angharad James of Britain and second-placed German Kristina Vogel, the London Olympic gold medallist in team sprint.
Hong Kong’s Lee Wai Sze, the London Olympic bronze medallist for keirin and the one Fatehah narrowly lost to on Sunday evening, takes the top spot.
The world rankings will be used to determine the cyclists who will ride at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
There is no rest for the 25-year-old from Terrengganu despite becoming the first Malaysian woman cyclist to stand on the World Cup podium.
Fatehah headed straight back to her home base in Melbourne, where she is expected to resume training later in the week.
On top of her mind is the Track World Championships in Cali, Colombia, from Feb 26 to March 2 where she is hoping to create another piece of history in her pet event.
“I will take a two-day break and then it’s back to working out in the gym and track training.
“There is not much time left before the world meet. I hope to beat Wai Sze and get a place on the podium for my first World Championships medal.
“She is the best sprinter in Asia for keirin in the World Cup season so far and narrowing the gap on her is my goal,” said the determined Fatehah, who has beaten Wai Sze once.
Fatehah beat Wai Sze, who is the reigning world champion for 500m time trial, en route to claiming the keirin title at the Asian Cycling Championships in Kuala Lumpur in 2012.
Fatehah enjoyed her best season by reaching the final in all three World Cup legs. She was sixth in Manchester last November and fourth in the second leg in Aguascalientes last month.
Having outdone her better known male counterparts like Azizulhasni Awang and Josiah Ng, Fatehah is now considered a strong gold medal prospect at the Incheon Asian Games later this year.
She is now ranked 14th in the sprint world rankings and has qualified for the event at the world meet as well.