Kedah's Siti Fatimah Ismail (left) in action during the Sukma 20km women's mountain bike race on Monday. - IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/ The Star
KANGAR: Kedah’s Siti Fatimah Ismail scored an emotional win in the women’s mountain bike cross country race at the Pauh Putra track.
Kedah were banking on hot favourite Mardiana Mohd Radzi, the silver medallist at the 2012 Pahang Sukma, to land the gold on Monday. But Mardiana had a fall during the BMX race on Sunday and was ruled out from Mon day’s race with a dislocated shoulder.
The 21-year-old Fatimah, unheralded in the mountain bike fraternity, duly shouldered Kedah’s challenge in the race. She won the 20km race in 1’12:26. Team-mate Siti Nur Adibah Akma Mohd Fuad grabbed the silver in 1’12:56 while Noor Fadilah Saiedin of Sarawak finished third in 1’14:31.
“Mardiana was supposed to ride. So, this win is for her,” said Fatimah who broke into tears with Mardiana and the rest of her Kedah team-mates at the finish line.
The men’s 28km race was won by Terengganu’s Mohd Zulhafiz Saipuddin. The 2012 Pahang Sukma bronze medallist clocked 1’20:11 to win the gold. Sabahan Alvin Leong grabbed the silver in 1’23:41 while Sarawak’s Garry Tay clocked 1’25:22 for the bronze.
The 20-year-old Zulhafiz credited his win to a month-long intense training camp with South-East Asian mountain bike legend Chandra Ariavijaya of Indonesia in Bandung last month.
“I’m so happy that everything I did to prepare for this paid off. After failing to win the gold in my first try (2012 in Pahang), I’m glad I made it this time,” said Zulhafiz.