Muhd Firdaus Zonis (left) and Azizulhasni Awang (right) pose with their 200m sprint gold medals in the junior and men's categories at the Asian Cycling Championships in Kazakhstan on Sunday.
PETALING JAYA: Muhd Firdaus Zonis bade farewell to the Asian junior cycling scene on a high note as he completed an unprecedented double treble at the Asian Cycling Championships (ACC) in Astana, Kazakhstan.
The 17-year-old Firdaus, a triple gold medallist in the last championships in New Delhi, lived up to his status as the world No. 2 by winning the men’s junior keirin on Monday for his third gold in Astana.
Firdaus was expecting Jung Jae-hee of South Korea to challenge him in the final. Instead, it was Fadhil, his younger brother who gave him a run for his money. In the end, Fadhil grabbed the silver while Jae-hee had to be satisfied with the bronze.
Mohd Shariz Efendi Mohd Shahrin, the other Malaysian finalist, finished fifth.
“It was a glorious moment for me, having fulfilled what I wanted to achieve here by winning the sprint, keirin and 1km time trial,” said Firdaus.
“I’m proud of Fadhil as he gave Malaysia a 1-2 finish. We’re close to each other. My father (Mohd Zonis Mokhtar, a grocery store operator) and mum Zanariah Mohd Basir (a housewife) must be very proud of us.
“It’s the first time we stood on the podium of a major international stage together. We hope to be as good as China’s Zhang brothers (sprinters Zhang Miao and Zhang Lei) one day,” added Firdaus.
Three Malaysians also contested the men’s elite keirin final, but only Azizulhasni Awang managed to finish in the top three.
Yuta Wakimoto of Japan grabbed gold, leaving Azizul with the silver and Im Chae-bin of South Korea the bronze.
Josiah Ng, the champion in 2012 and 2013, was placed fourth while Muhd Shah Firdaus Sahrom finished last of six competitors.
There was no joy for Fatehah Mustapa in the women’s keirin elite event. Fatehah, a silver medallist last year and champion in 2012, failed to secure a place in the final. She had to settle for eighth place after finishing second in the seventh-12th classification race.
The national track team concluded their campaign with four golds, three silvers and four bronzes.
The competition resumes on Tuesday with road cycling, but Malaysia are not expected to mount a strong challenge for the four golds at stake.