PETALING JAYA: National cycling coach John Beasley is excited about the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April, and his charges are too.
The Australian is excited not because the Games are held in his country of birth but he is hoping for a breakthrough performance from the cyclists.
Malaysia have been given the nod from Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) to send a big squad of 14 cyclists for the track cycling competition, which will take place at the newly built Anna Meares Velodrome in Queensland.
Reigning world champion Azizulhasni Awang, who will ride in keirin and sprint, hopes to win his first Commonwealth Games gold.
Azizul came in first ahead of Josiah Ng in the keirin at the 2010 New Delhi Games but was disqualified for a technical infringement.
In Glasgow four years ago, he took bronze in the keirin and will surely be looking to improve on the colour in Gold Coast.
Eight cyclists started for Malaysia in Glasgow, but Azizul was the only one who managed to climb on the podium.
“Surely, I am hoping for the best from the cyclists. We got a bigger team and everybody is where I expected them to be.
“Fatehah was unlucky not to get a medal in the World Cup round in Manchester last month and she is in the best shape I have seen so far, so I am hoping she will be our first woman cyclist to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games,” said Beasley, who is encouraged by the attitude of the younger batch led by Muhd Shah Firdaus Sahrom.
“This group is our future and it is best that we give them time to blossom.
“Azizul has been the perfect inspiration for them and they see what he is able to do and they want to be like him.”
Only Azizul and Fatehah have experienced racing at the Commonwealth Games.
Mohd Fadhil Mohd Zonis, Shariz Efendi Shahrin and Muhd Khairil Nizam Rasol will ride in the men’s team sprint while Fatehah and Farina Shawati Mohd Adnan will combine for the women’s team sprint.