The Asian Cycling Championships will be Josiah Ng's first competition after his big accident in December where he suffered a broken collarbone and ribs, and punctured his lung.
PETALING JAYA: Josiah Ng and Fatehah Mustapa can make it an unprecedented hat-trick of gold medals in the senior ranks of the Asian Cycling Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan, from May 22-June 1.
Australian coach John Beasley has entered a full strength squad with the likes of multiple World Cup medallists Josiah, Azizulhasni Awang and Fatehah fronting the senior team for the sprint events.
Fatehah, who joined the elite club of World Cup medallists with a silver in Mexico early this year, has a chance to add a third successive gold medal at the Asian meet after bagging the keirin title in 2012 in Kuala Lumpur and repeating that success in New Delhi last year.
Fatehah has been entered for keirin, sprint and 500m time-trials. She also partners fellow Melbourne-based team-mate Jupha Somnet for the team sprint.
Jupha, the second senior female entrant, will take part in the sprint, keirin and three endurance events – omnium, scratch and points races.
Josiah successfully defended his keirin title in New Delhi last year and became only the second Malaysian rider after Azizul to complete a double by taking the sprint the following day.
Azizul, who is determined to make up for last year’s disappointment when he did not manage a podium finish, has been entered for the sprint, keirin and team sprint.
It will be a twin attack from Malaysia for the sprint and keirin titles with Josiah back in action after a two-month lay-off to recover from a horrible crash in Mexico in December.
The veteran cyclist suffered a broken collarbone and ribs, and punctured his lung after a crash in the keirin event at the Track World Cup round in Aguascalientes in December and had to withdraw from the Track World Championships in Cali as a result.
Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) deputy president Datuk Naim Mohamad believes it is too early to gauge Josiah’s form.
“This is the first competition for Josiah after the accident and we will only get a better picture after his first event.
“He has made a superb recovery and this will be a chance for him to get his confidence back before he defends his Commonwealth Games title in Glasgow in July,” he said.
All eyes will also be on 17-year-old Mohd Firdaus Zonis to see if he can bow out of the junior ranks on a golden note.
Firdaus will compete in the junior ranks for the last time and if he gets his act right he could be the first rider to successfully win all 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.
Malaysia achieved their best ever outing in the previous Asian Cycling Championships with seven gold medals.
Track squad for Asian Cycling Championships:
Men: Azizulhasni Awang, Josiah Ng, Mohd Edrus Yunos, Mohd Shah Firdaus Sahrom, Adiq Husainie Othman, Amir Mustafa Rusli, Sofian Nabil Omar, Hamdan Hamidun, Muhd Farid Razali, Mohd Fairet Rusli, Mohd Harrif Salleh.
Women: Fatehah Mustapa, Jupha Somnet.
Men: Mohd Firdaus Zonis, Mohd Fadhil Zonis, Mohd Shariz Effendi Shahrin, Muhd Khairil Nizam Rasol, Muhd Afiq Huznie Othman, Naim Asyraf Ying, Akmal Hakim Zakaria, Muhd Izzart Tolha, Ahmad Muazzam Iman, Eiman Firdaus.
Women: Farina Shahwati Adnan, Nurul Alissa Azman, Nur Azrenna Jumry.