Litmus test for team

PETALING JAYA: After pulling off an impressive sweep of all 12 gold medals at the Asean Para Games in Nilai last year, the real test lies for the Malaysia cyclists in the Asian Para Games in Jakarta.

Road cycling competition gets under way at the Sentul International Circuit in Jakarta tomorrow with Nur Rizuan Zainal-Faizal Noh and Aiman Asyraff Ahmad Bajuri-Khairul Azwan Wahab in the fray.

The time trial event follows after and then the attention switches to the track discipline at the Jakarta International Velodrome in Rawamangun on Oct 11.

For Mohd Najib Turano, the mission for the para cycling team should be to bag the first ever gold for Malaysia in Asian Para Games.

“We won one silver and three bronze medals at the last Asian Para Games in Incheon, South Korea, four years ago and of course we want to show improvement in Jakarta,” he said.

“I have high confidence in our abilities. I think the whole team are all geared up to try their best to catch up with the cyclists from China and Japan.

“China, especially, will be the strongest team in track cycling and they are the ones to beat.

“China did not come when we hosted the Asian Para Cycling Championships in Nilai in February this year. We do not know their real form but the real test is definitely at this Asian Para Games as everyone is gearing towards the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics,” said Najib, who bagged a bronze in the men’s 4km individual pursuit C4 (limb impairment) category.

The 31-year-old made heads turn when he bagged four gold medals at the Asean Para Games last year.

Najib will compete in five events – the 4km individual pursuit, 4km team pursuit, team sprint, 1km time trial and road time trial – in Jakarta.

“It’s the first time we are competing on a racing track and I think the Indonesians have the advantage as they have been training here for a while,” said Najib.

“We have two days to check out the track but I think I have a better chance to get a medal in the velodrome.

“I hope to improve on the colour of the medal in the 4km individual pursuit and hopefully win the team sprint too.”

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