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Thursday October 27, 2011

Suhardi gets another shot

KUALA LUMPUR: Suhardi Hassan (pic) hopes to bring back the glory days for Malaysian road cycling following his surprise inclusion in the squad for next month’s Indonesia SEA Games.

Suhardi was called up to the road cycling team two days ago to replace Kelantan-born cyclist Loh Sea Keong, who has been ruled out for six weeks after being involved in an accident during training.

Suhardi was the last Malaysian cyclist to take gold in the men’s individual road race at the Manila SEA Games in 2005. He came close to repeating the feat before settling for silver in Korat two years ago.

The 29-year-old Suhardi has vowed to use his experience to help the road squad win the team gold medal for the first time.

Suhardi is competing in the national road Grand Prix circuit in Perlis on Saturday and he intends to use the event to familiarise himself with the Jakarta-bound cyclists – like Muhd Rauf Nus Misbah, Akmal Amrun, Adiq Husainie Othman, Amir Rusli Mustafa and Mohd Shahrul Mat Amin.

“Perlis is also my hometown and the SEA Games call-up has motivated me to do well this weekend,” he said.

“This should be my last SEA Games so I hope to come back with sweet memories.

“I’ve got two medals – a gold and a silver from four previous Games. I’m disappointed with the silver from Korat in 2007 because I was in really good form.

“I was beaten to the gold medal by an Indonesian (Ryan Ariehaan) due to a wrong strategy in the last 10km.

“I hope to make up for it this time. If I don’t, I’ll work doubly hard to make sure we get the team gold medal.”

Suhardi is not the only seasoned campaigner in road cycling as Indonesia have also listed former SEA Games gold medallist Tonton Susanto, who is already 39, in their squad.

Malaysia are targeting at least four gold medals in cycling as they contest all the disciplines for the first time. Besides road, the cycling programme also comprises track, mountain bike and BMX.

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