Sport

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Firdaus bounces back from setback to win first Track World Cup medal

Superb show: Bronze medallist Muhd Shah Firdaus Sahrom (right) stands on the podium with keirin winner Fabian Hernando Puerta Zapata of Colombia (centre) and silver medallist Canadian Hugo Barrette at the Track World Cup in Los Angeles.

Superb show: Bronze medallist Muhd Shah Firdaus Sahrom (right) stands on the podium with keirin winner Fabian Hernando Puerta Zapata of Colombia (centre) and silver medallist Canadian Hugo Barrette at the Track World Cup in Los Angeles.

PETALING JAYA: Credit to Malaysian track cyclist Muhd Shah Firdaus Sahrom for overcoming adversity.

He was down in the dumps when he arrived in the United States last week, minus his bicycle.

That resulted in him having to forgo the sprint event of the Track World Cup final round in Los Angeles on Saturday.

Luckily for him, his bicycle arrived later on Saturday and the 21-year-old went on to cap a breakthrough appearance in a World Cup final by clinching bronze in the men’s keirin on Sunday.

Shah Firdaus charged through the chasing pack at the final bend to claim his first-ever World Cup medal behind Canadian Hugo Barrette.

Firdaus relieved after his bicycle arrived before the keirin event began.

Colombia’s Fabian Hernando Puerta Zapata showed that his World Cup win a week ago in his own backyard in Cali was no fluke by taking a convincing win.

“I almost became a spectator in Los Angeles. The most unpleasant thing for a cyclist is finding out your bicycle did not arrive together with you.

“Cyclists from other teams were also in the same boat. I was forced to pull out of the men’s sprint event.

“There was no time to practise, but I was determined to do well to make sure I qualify for the World Track Championships in Hong Kong (April 12-16),” said Shah Firdaus, who was selected for the 2017 Podium Programme last week.

The Malaysian can also take pride in beating the likes of 2015 double world champion Francois Pervis of France and Japan’s Kazunari Watanabe, who finished fifth and sixth.

Shah Firdaus’ achievement makes him only the third Malaysian male cyclist to stand on the World Cup podium after Azizulhasni Awang and Josiah Ng.

Shah Firdaus had earlier finished ahead of Asian champion Im Chae-bin of South Korea to earn the third and last spot for the final from his second-round heat behind Oliva Lewis of Wales and Zapata.

The Selangor-born cyclist earned an automatic spot for the second round after finishing second behind Pervis in a six-rider first-round heat.

“No words can describe how happy I am to stand on the podium. I want to thank my coaches (John Beasley and Junaidi Nasir), my mentor Azizul and the support staff back home for making this happen,” said Shah Firdaus, who claimed his first medal – a bronze in keirin – in the Asian Cycling Championships in New Delhi, India, earlier this month.

Tags / Keywords: keirin , shah , malaysia

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