National cyclist Azizulhasni Awang (left) has apologised for his 'political' statement and was allowed to continue racing at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
GLASGOW: Malaysia’s top rider Azizulhasni Awang has apologised for making a political statement during his opening day’s race at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.
On Thursday, the 26-year-old wore gloves bearing the words “Save” on his right side and “Gaza” on the left during both the men’s individual and team sprint events.
On Thursday, Azizul admitted that it was a grave mistake on his part to mix politics and sports. He could have been disqualified from the Games for his action.
He expressed remorse and apologised to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and the whole Malaysian contingent for his actions.
“I did not mean to show disrespect or to insult any party whatsoever. I was naive and did not understand the consequences of my action,” said Azizul.
He had explained his actions to chef-de-mission Datuk Ong Poh Eng and the Olympic Council Malaysia (OCM) had also reprimanded him.
OCM even served him a warning letter, saying they are letting him off this time but with a stern reminder not to repeat it.
“I would like to thank our chef-de-mission, the OCM, the team manager and my coach for helping to resolve this issue … I will not repeat such a mistake,” said Azizul.
Cycling team manager Datuk Amarjit Singh Gill was relieved that they managed to avoid a controversy by taking appropriate action.
“I was informed by the chef-de-mission that the CGF had sent an official protest against the conduct of Azizul,” said Amarjit, who is an Ipoh-based lawyer and the Perak Cycling Association (PCA) president.
“It is a serious offence that could have even led to his suspension from the Games.
“We held an urgent meeting on Thursday night and it was attended by Azizul, coach John Beasley, the chef-de-mission and OCM vice-president Low Beng Choo.
“Azizul explained and apologised for his behaviour.”
Amarjit said that he has advised all the national cyclists to keep their political opinions to themselves.
“I have stressed to the cyclists that whatever their political stand is on any matters, they cannot directly or indirectly express it at any Games. One cannot mix politics and sports,” said Amarjit.