JAKARTA: Azizulhasni Awang rediscovered his best form to become the first Malaysian to win the men's sprint gold medal in Asian Games cycling history.
The 30-year-old cyclist took down Tomohiro Fukaya of Japan in two heats to claim the fifth gold medal for Malaysia at the 18th edition of the Asiad at the Jakarta International Velodrome on Thursday.
Azizul, who struggled with a viral infection and failed to finish on the podium at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April, left them all trailing with one of his best performances in recent years.
Azizul became the first Malaysian cyclist since Josiah Ng in Busan in 2002 to reach the sprint final after he out-sprinted South Korean record holder Im Chae-bin in two semi-final heats.
It is the second career-Asian Games gold for Azizul. He beat Josiah to win the keirin title in his Asiad debut in Guangzhou four years ago.
Azizul, in buoyant form, will be gunning for his second gold in Jakarta when he races in the men's keirin on the final day of track competition today.
Azizul already has a silver to show from the men's team sprint event with Shah Firdaus and Muhammad Fadhil Zonis.
Shah Firdaus was beaten in two heats by Japan's Tomohiro Fukaya and will take on Chae-bin for the bronze medal this afternoon.
Azizul will be looking to get the better of Fukaya to deliver the fifth gold for the Malaysian contingent on Friday.Azizul already has a silver to show from the men's team sprint event with Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom and Muhammad Fadhil Zonis on Monday.