The Terengganu time trial team (from left): Norimran Nor In, Muhd Zulfakhri Hamdan, Muhd Badrul Hakimi Hamid and Mohd Nur Aiman Mohd Zariff.
KANGAR: It was an emotional win for the Terengganu team time trial quartet as they clinched the gold at the Changlun-Kuala Perlis highway.
The quartet of Muhd Zulfakhri Hamdan, Mohd Nur Aiman Mohd Zariff, Norimran Nor In and Muhd Badrul Hakimi Hamid not only rode the race of their lives to win the gold medal, but also raced for their late team-mates Mohamad Asmui Ali @ Awang and Muhammad Syafiq Imran Syahril, who died tragically in two separate training accidents last year.
The Terengganu team completed the 51km course in 1’06:57.065 to claim the gold medal while Johor grabbed the silver in 1’08:20.496. Selangor settled for the bronze about a second behind in 1’08:21.106.
Asmui died in an accident last October. He was reported to have lost control of his bike while getting sustanence from the team van and ended up under the moving van. He was 20.
Syafiq, 15, collided with a trailer while training with his team-mates last June.
Both of them would have featured in the Perlis Sukma.
“This is a moving moment for us because Asmui would have been in the line-up today,” said Norimran.
“From the start of the race, we were not willing to settle for anything less than the gold medal because this race was for them (Asmui and Syafiq).”
Terengganu coach Syed Mohd Hussaini Syed Mazlan said the win strikes an emotional chord with the team as morale was at an all-time low after Asmui’s death.
“It took them three months to come to terms with his death. Only early this year were they able to bounce back to finally hit form here,” said Hussaini.
Meanwhile, in the women’s competition, Kedah grabbed the gold medal to deny favourites Terengganu a clean sweep on Thursday.
The quartet of Nurjeha Iwani Roslan, Siti Nur Adibah Akma Mohd Fuad, Siti Fatimah Ismail and Mardiana Mohd Radzi completed the 40km course in 1’00:29.912. Terengganu settled for the silver in 1’01:03.337 while Malacca took home the bronze in 1’02:13.411.