PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin congratulated Datuk Azizulhasni Awang in a video call on his silver medal win in the men’s keirin event at Tokyo 2020.
In the call that lasted about seven minutes, Muhyiddin spoke to Azizul.
The Prime Minister also spoke with Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican and second national track cyclist Mohd Shah Firdaus Sahrom.
Muhyiddin asked Azizul, a Terengganu native, to show him his silver medal.
“This is silver but it looks like gold from here,” the Prime Minister quipped.
Muhyiddin also asked Azizul how he felt over his win.
Azizul replied that he was rather sad as they were on track to clinching the gold but a large gap between the Australian cyclist and themselves (the competitors) caused their plans to derail.
This gave Britain’s Jason Kenny – the eventual winner – a lead on the rest of the field.
“I don’t know why he did that but we who were at the back had trouble chasing him (Kenny).
“In keirin anything can happen,” he said.
Muhyiddin prayed that in the next Olympics, Malaysia would get its first gold medal from keirin.
During the video call, Azizul, who has two daughters, also announced that his wife was pregnant with their third child.
He thanked Muhyiddin, Malaysians and the Youth and Sports Ministry for their support, without which “we would not be able to achieve this success”.
The Prime Minister also encouraged Shah Firdaus to persevere so that he would become a champion in the next Olympics.
The Johorean was sent crashing when he collided with another cyclist in the first round on Saturday before he gallantly got through in the repechage and subsequently qualified for the quarter-finals.
He did not, however, make it to the semi-finals.
Reezal Merican said there was no prouder moment for him.
He added that even those at Izu Velodrome were applauding Azizul’s win.
“This is a gift for Malaysians; one of the things that Azizul has given us is a moment of unity where all Malaysians are happy to celebrate his win,” he said.
Reezal Merican played down the second placing, noting that Azizul lost to a seven-time Olympic gold medallist.