PETALING JAYA: The route to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has been made easier for the national track cyclists.
This is because Malaysia will be hosting the Asian Cycling Confederation (ACC) Championships at the Velodrom Rakyat in Ipoh in 2018.
Myanmar, meanwhile will host the road events.
The chase for places at the Tokyo Olympic starts in 2018 and ACC Championships offer rankings points. And Malaysia, as hosts, are allowed to field up to three riders each for the sprint and keirin.
ACC acting president Datuk Abu Samah Wahab, who is also the president of Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF), said Malaysia were awarded the hosting job after Thailand and South Korea withdrew their bids at the ACC executive committee meeting in Doha, Qatar, on Sunday.
“The ACC is the continental qualifying event for the Olympics. It’s a good chance for our elite cyclists like Azizulhasni Awang, Mohd Shah Firdaus Sahrom and Fatehah Mustapa to pick up valuable rankings points. They will be racing at home instead of travelling to Europe and South America,” said Abu Samah.
Only two Malaysian cyclists – Azizulhasni and Fatehah – qualified for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August. Azizulhasni managed to clinch a bronze – Malaysia’s first medal in cycling – while Fatehah failed to get past the women’s sprint qualifying rounds.