PETALING JAYA: Sabah, despite not having a velodrome, are making a daring move by entering a team at the Taiwan International Track Cup this weekend.
This is also the first time a state-backed team are competing in a UCI-sanctioned championship.
Spearheading the challenge for the Cycology Sabah Racing Team, is budding endurance cyclist Waldron Chee.
Waldron, only 16, will compete in the points and scratch race.
The youngster made heads turn when he claimed a bronze in the men’s junior 3km individual pursuit at the Asian Cycling Championships in Jakarta in January this year.
It will only be the second international race for Waldron, who is the first Sabahan to be absorbed into the national set-up.
The other cyclists in Kaohsiung are Lim Chun Kiat, Bong Yong Xian, Darren Chong and their only female cyclist Chika Cherryca Chia.
Waldron, Chun Kiat, Yong Xian and Darren formed the boys’ team pursuit that bagged a bronze, the first-ever medal for Sabah in Sukma track cycling in Ipoh last year.
Coach Louis Pang said the cyclists have improved tremendously since training at the National Velodrome in Nilai from April last year.
“Our goal is to gain experience at the international stage. We’ll compete in junior scratch, points race, madison, team sprint, time trial, sprint and keirin events,” said Louis.
“The cyclists have gone through five months of preparation. They’re in the best physical shape since Sukma last year and hopefully, we can do ourselves proud.
“As a coach, I would like to see maturity in their decision making, poise under pressure and focus in their execution.”
Malaysia will also be represented by Kuala Lumpur SEA Games gold medallists Muhd Khairil Nizam Rasol, Mohd Shariz Efendi, Fatehah Mustapa and Farina Shawati Mohd Adnan in the elite track sprint and keirin events.
Also competing under national team colours are Anis Amira Rosidi in the women’s elite and Amar Danial Masri in the men’s elite.