Mohd Firdaus Zonis (right) in a file photo. He is aiming to win all the three individual sprint events at the Asian Cycling Championships for the second straight year.
PETALING JAYA: Mohd Firdaus Zonis is determined to leave his mark as a junior track cyclist before he moves up to the senior ranks next year.
At the top of the 17-year-old’s target is the Asian Cycling Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan, from May 21-June 1. He will attempt to be the first rider to successfully win all the three individual sprint events for the second straight year. He raced to a treble (sprint, keirin and 1km individual time trial) at the championships in New Delhi last season.
Firdaus’ next aim will be the Junior World Track Championships in Seoul in August where he hopes for a breakthrough performance in the sprint events.
Firdaus started the new season on a strong note, winning a treble – sprint, keirin and 1km time trial – at the Hong Kong Track Cup earlier this month.
He did not let up in his next assignment, clinching a double in the keirin at the Japan Track Grand Prix Series in Shizuoka, Japan, last weekend. The 1km time trial and sprint were not held for the juniors in Shizuoka.
Firdaus’ season has been perfect so far and he hopes to keep it that way. But he also knows the road will get tougher along the way.
“So far, I’m ahead of the rest of the Asian riders. The competition at the Asian Championships was not so tough last year. But this time, I believe the challenge will be stronger. The Japanese and South Koreans will go all out to beat me,” said Firdaus, who trains under former Melbourne-based cyclist Junaidi Nasir.
The stocky Firdaus is also determined to do better in his second appearance at the world junior meet.
Firdaus went to Glasgow, Scotland, last year as the reigning Asian champion but could only finish 16th in the sprint. In the keirin, he was booted out in the second round.
He, however, managed to clock a personal best of 1:05.092 in the 1km time trial for a creditable sixth spot.
“I was involved in a crash during the team sprint warm-up in Glasgow. I had three stitches on my shin. The shin was also swollen and it affected me.
“I hope for better luck this time. There is enough time to prepare for a better outing and I think I have a strong chance to dip under 1:04 in the 1km time trial,” said Firdaus.
For the record, Adiq Husainie Othman was the only Malaysian to win a medal at the world junior meet. He bagged a bronze in the scratch race in Moscow in 2010.