National cyclist Azizulhasni Awang celebrates after beating England's Philip Hindes in the first knock-out stage of the men's individual sprint at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games on Thursday. - AFP
GLASGOW: It was raining Commonwealth Games records in the men’s individual sprint event at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome but Malaysia’s top cyclist Azizulhasni Awang did not let that bother him.
Yesterday, Azizul kept his cool to finish seventh out of the 12 qualifiers with a time of 10.158.
In the first-round knockout, the 26-year-old stepped up a gear to beat England’s Philip Hindes by clocking 10.382 to march into Friday’s quarter-finals.
The challenge of two other Malaysians fizzled out, though.
Muhd Edrus Yunos missed the cut by the skin of his teeth after finishing 13th in 10.257.
Mohd Rizal Tisin found the going tough and could only clock 10.575 to finish in 20th spot.
In the qualifying round, five cyclists surpassed the old Games mark of 10.058, set by Australian Shane Perkins in New Delhi in 2010.
The new record holder is Australian Matthew Glaetzer. He was the last cyclist in action during the qualifying round but blazed the track in a blistering 9.779 to take top spot.
Four other cyclists who rode faster than Perkins were New Zealanders Edward Dawkins, Sam Webster and Matthew Archibald and Australian Peter Lewis.
Azizul, however, took it in all his strides.
Glaetzer, Dawkins, Webster, Archibald and Lewis also made it to the last eight after winning their respective first-round races.
“A few of them shattered the Commonwealth Games record and are looking good in this race. I did quite okay in the qualifying … my time is one of the best that I have recorded,” said Azizul, who was glad that he made it to the quarter-finals.
“Edrus did quite all right today but he just missed the cut. It’s one of his stronger performances. Rizal struggled a little but this is first major tournament in many years. Hopefully, we will do better as a team in the team sprint.”
Azizul, however, has one concern.
“I had a mild cold and I don’t want it to affect my performance. My coach (John Beasley) is slightly worried. Let’s hope I will get better,” said Azizul, who is eyeing a first Commonwealth Games gold medal.