No velodrome, no problem


  • Community Sports
  • Wednesday, 25 Dec 2019

Cycology Sabah Racing team members (from left) Louis, Chika Cheerryca Chia, Lim Chun Kiat, Waldron, Darren Chong, Bong Yong Xian, Steven Lee and Arni.

UNWAVERING determination, passion and a systematic approach to achieving results are driving Cycology Sabah Racing, led by coach Louis Pang, to make their mark in the Malaysian track cycling scene.

The outfit now boasts of having two young national team recruits in Arni Sanuddin and Waldron Chee, despite both coming from a state without access to any proper track training facilities.

Keningau-born Arni romped to her first win in the junior ranks of the national track championships at the National Velodrome in Nilai last year and has trained in Melbourne under coach John Beasley alongside Fatehah Mustapa and Anis Amira Rosidi.

The 17-year-old Waldron also surprised many by bagging bronze in the junior ranks of the Asian Cycling Championships in Jakarta, Indonesia early this year.

It was his first-ever international competition and he has been absorbed into the national endurance track squad.

Interestingly, both cyclists had not even taken up track cycling when Malaysia hosted the last SEA Games two years ago.

It was only in February of 2018 when the team took part in their first-ever track cycling competition at the National Velodrome in Nilai and made startling impressions.

Sprinter Arni surprised many by winning the junior girls’ keirin title at the National Junior Championships in Nilai last year. Sprinter Arni surprised many by winning the junior girls’ keirin title at the National Junior Championships in Nilai last year.

For a man who only got into the sport by accident, Louis is ecstatic about the future.“I had no inkling of what track cycling was about five years ago. I had injured my lower back and I was in severe pain every year. It was in 2014 when I was suffering so much pain that a specialist told me I needed to manage my body weight, ” said Louis.

“It was either swimming or cycling. I could find coaches for every sport but none for track cycling in Sabah. I resolved to learn as much as I could about track cycling. I found out there was a free UCI coaching course in Thailand at that time, so I signed up and went there on my own.

“I came back and offered myself to coach the Sabah team from scratch. I was ridiculed as I was not a national athlete and had no experience but I persevered. That’s basically my journey and how I ended up as a track cycling coach.”

What inspires him the most?

“It’s not me but my young cyclists who inspire me every day.

“They are great kids. They are only 16 to 18 years old, can you believe it? But they have amazing discipline at such a young age. They are never late for training, they put in the work and help each other; it’s a real sense of family.

“I push them to the limits in training. They have come a long way since they first rode a bike more than a year ago, “ said the 47-year-old Louis, whose mission is to see Sabah produce more quality cyclists.

“I want to see continuity and to have many cyclists coming through the ranks over the next few years.

Waldron claimed bronze in the junior ranks of the Asian Cycling Championships in Jakarta, Indonesia, in what was his first international competition of the year.Waldron claimed bronze in the junior ranks of the Asian Cycling Championships in Jakarta, Indonesia, in what was his first international competition of the year.

“Our hope is to be as good as states like Terengganu, Selangor, Johor and Kuala Lumpur.

“I am happy to see the support from the state government and private sponsors, ” he said.

Efficient training methods

It is the lack of resources that actually gave rise to innovative training methods employed by Louis.

“I believe it is not about the amount of mileage you cover in training, but using the most efficient method to gain power through gym work and having proper recovery in between, ” said Louis.

“Every few months we test the cyclists and see their progress.

“They have made gradual improvements through the technical data shown and the cyclists are aware of it.

“They have access to the technical data and what they need to do is to maintain this trend. They know it is not just empty talk from me but cold hard facts.

“My dream is that Sabah can be the standard bearer in Malaysia when it comes to cycling. We are officially the second fastest team in the country now and we aim to break the national record in team pursuit and individual pursuit by next year.”

The best endorsement for Louis came from none other than track cycling head coach John Beasley, whom the Sabahan has been in touch with regularly to seek out his expertise.

“He told me that we are ahead of the curve — what we are doing as a newbie state to cycling. You can ask him, ” said Louis in jest.

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