PETALING JAYA: Track cyclist Azizulhasni Awang could be up for triple duty at the Asian Games in Indonesia in August.
The 30-year-old former keirin world champion could be slotted in for the men’s team sprint event as coach John Beasley looks to forge the strongest combination to challenge for gold at the Rawamangun Velodrome in Jakarta.
Azizul could either start as the starter or second rider for the team sprint behind Muhd Shah Firdaus Sahrom with Muhd Fadhil Zonis remaining as the anchor.
Shah Firdaus, Muhd Khairil Nizam Rasol and Fadhil rode in the team sprint at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games last month where they came within a whisker of erasing the 10-year national record of 44.72 set by Azizul, Josiah Ng and Rizal Tisin at the Beijing Olympics.
If Azizul comes in for the team sprint, all indications are the trio should bring down the national record at the newly minted indoor velodrome in Jakarta.
Malaysia have never won a medal in the men’s team sprint in the Asian Games.
“We did not send our best sprint team for the Commonwealth Games but the strongest will go for the Asian Games.
“Make no excuses as we want to win gold at the Asian Games as it is our main focus this year.
“Japan will be hard to beat as they are preparing for the next Olympics, which they are hosting.
“China and South Korea will be very strong but we will be prepared to take them on,” said Beasley, who has been charting the fortunes of the Malaysian elite track cycling squad in his Melbourne base for the past decade.
Azizul himself will be focused on doing well in the keirin and sprint as well alongside Shah Firdaus.
Azizul will be highly motivated to win a second career Asian Games gold medal after finishing empty handed at the world meet in Holland earlier this year.
Azizul was bogged down by a viral infection suffered at the start of the world meet and was weakened to the extent he was not at his best for the Commonwealth Games challenge in April.
Azizul led Josiah Ng to a 1-2 finish for Malaysia at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.
In Incheon, South Korea four years ago, Azizul was relegated from the men’s keirin as Josiah settled for silver.
Fatehah Mustapa delivered the only medal when she took silver in the women’s keirin.