World champ Azizul says a “winning mentality” is key to success

PETALING JAYA: Top Malaysian athletes, including newly-crowned world keirin champion Azizulhasni Awang, gave their thumbs up to the “Winning Mentality” workshop organised for athletes in the elite-only Podium Programme at the National Sports Complex in Bukit Jalil.

The “Winning Mentality” approach is aimed at getting the athletes as well as the coaches and supporting staff to target success at the highest level.

The plan will only be unveiled later this year but the elite athletes had a sneak preview yesterday.

Azizul, who attended and later presented his rainbow jersey (winner’s jersey) to Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, said the concept is to instil the mindset to always focus on winning in every competition.

“I have always set a high goal when I go to a major competition. I want to win but it’s also important to have the determination, right work ethics and discipline.

“I can relate from my experience in the chase for the rainbow jersey. I did not give up despite having tried for many years,” said Azizul, who put up a blistering ride to take a historic gold in the men’s keirin at the Track Cycling World Championships in Hong Kong last week.

He is only the second Asian to win the race in the history of the World Championships. Japan’s Harumi Honda achieved the feat in 1987.

Two-time Olympic diving medallist Pandelela Rinong said the “Winning Mentality” concept will spur her to achieve new goals in her career.

“It’s really motivating, expecially knowing the people behind me also have the same aspirations to work together to achieve the mission,” said Pandelela, who is the frontrunner for the National Sportswoman of the Year award next week.

Rio Paralympic shot putt gold medallist Ziyad Zolkefli echoed the same sentiments.

He said: “The approach encourages athletes to develop a high sense of self-confidence.

“It is a holistic plan. I will settle for nothing but the best achievement.”

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