Azizulhasni Awang (left) in action against Sam Webster of New Zealand in the quarter-finals of the men's sprint at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games on Friday, - AFP
GLASGOW: Top national cyclist Azizulhasni Awang showed unwavering focus but it was still not good enough to make the semi-finals of the men’s individual sprint at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome yesterday.
The 26-year-old Azizul had to win at least two out of three races against New Zealand’s Sam Webster in the quarter-finals at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games to keep alive his hopes of making the top four.
Instead, he lost the first two.
His second race against Websters, who steered his team to the team gold in the team sprint just a day ago, was exhilarating indeed – with Azizul being pipped at the finish line.
Azizul said that he was not distracted during the race although he was warned by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) just a day ago for making a political statement during the team sprint.
Azizul had worn gloves with the words “Save Gaza” during the opening day’s races.
Yesterday, he removed the words.
“There was no distraction. Let’s not talk about it. I was focused during the race. Today, I came into the race with only one hope – to make the semi-finals,” said Azizul yesterday.
He also accepted that he lost to a better rider.
“Sam qualified with a sub-10 time and I knew what to expect. He did well to beat me with the tactical game in the first race,” said Azizul.
“I did better in the second ... holding him off during the three-lap race but he was in better condition to pip me at the finish line.”
This is the second time that Azizul has failed to land a medal at the Glasgow Games. On Thursday, Azizul, Muhd Edrus Yunos and Rizal Tisin did not qualify for the men’s team sprint.
Still, Azizul is in high spirits.
“I have received good feedback from my coach (John Beasley) on my progress here. There is still room for improvement and I will come back stronger in my pet event – keirin.
“That’s a promise,” said Azizul, who will have a one-day break before he saddles up again.