Jupha Som Net in a file photo. Perlis hope she will bag the gold medal in the criterium and 120km road race at Sukma.
KANGAR: Perlis' hope for Sukma gold in cycling rests on the shoulders of Jupha Som Net. But over-reliance on the 21-year-old could be costly.
Jupha, who recently won the points race bronze medal at the Asian Cycling Championships in Kazakhstan, will only return from there on May 29. Her event at the Malaysia Games (Sukma) will start on June 1.
Perlis coach Muhd Afandi Abdullah is hoping Jupha will have enough recovery time before her first event, the 55km criterium. “She is in good form right now and exactly where I want her to be. But I just hope she recovers fast enough for the race because she is our clear hope for a gold medal,” said Afandi.
Jupha hogged the limelight at the 2011 Sukma in Kuala Lumpur when she was crowned the Best Female Athlete after winning four gold medals. However, at the 2012 Games in Pahang, she was a big letdown as she ended up with no gold medals.
“On paper, she is good for the gold medal in both events (criterium and 120km road race). But she will be a marked rider in the races. The only way she can win is to out-power everybody else.
“I believe she can do it. But as I said, it all depends on her recovery. We will fly her straight to Alor Setar from Kuala Lumpur on May 29 and drive straight to Kangar from there.
“I’m really anxious about this. Until she is here with us, I can’t sleep easy,” said Afandi.