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Tuesday April 30, 2013

Azizul eager to impress again after poor outing in Asian meet

KUALA LUMPUR: After returning home empty handed from the Asian Championships in New Delhi last month, top national track cyclist Azizulhasni Awang is itching for some action again.

The Olympian has set his sights on at least a podium finish when he takes part in a series of races in Cottbuss, Germany, in June in a bid to qualify for the World Cup Series in October.

Azizul, who is based in Melbourne, said he returned from the Asian Championships with mixed feelings.

“Initially, I was not listed to compete in the Asian Championships due to the delay in getting my visa done. I had not trained properly and all that I did in Malaysia was just training on the road,” said Azizul.

“After a discussion with my coach John Beasley, we decided that the Asian meet will be part of my training.

“We used the tournament to monitor my current condition and planned for my next training programme.

“Of course, I felt disappointed that I returned empty handed from New Delhi but I was impressed with my timing.

“Without proper training, I was able to clock quite good times at the start of the season. It gave my coach and I an idea on how to go about my plans for the year.

“I am now looking forward for the few races in Europe (Germany) to collect points for the World Cup Series. I hope to race well, much better than the Asian meet and get the taste of one podium finish.”

“My team-mates (Josiah Ng and Fatehah Mustapha) will be leaving first (to Europe) and I will join them after sitting for my final exam at the university,” said Azizul, who is doing his Sports Science degree at the University of Victoria.

Azizul is now juggling his studies and train ing as well as being a parent. He is the father of a six-month old girl – Athiah Ilyana Abdul Samad.

“I’m all right despite being busy with training, attending classes and taking care of my little one,” he said.

“Fatherhood is a great experience for me. The responsibility as a father somehow motivates me to train even harder.

“When I come back home exhausted from training, the smiling face of my child just makes me forget about all those pain in my body.”

Azizul was also delighted to note that the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) had taken steps to solve the issues of bungling officials during Asian Championships.

Then, Azizul had tweeted about his dissatisfaction of how things were run which eventually exposed the absence of the team manager during one of the competition days.

Azizul said he would continue to do his part to protect the interest of the cyclists.

“It is a good lesson to show that no one is untouchable.

“And when someone makes a mistake, they must accept it and make a change. It is for a better future,” said Azizul, adding that he would continue to highlight the plight of the cyclists through the social media platform.

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