NILAI: Malaysian track cyclist Fatehah Mustapa received news in the morning that she was picked to race in the India Track Cup in New Delhi in two weeks time.
And buoyed by the news, Fatehah soared to a double victory for Terengganu in the National Track Championships at the National Velodrome here.
Fatehah posted one of her fastest times in two years by clinching the women’s elite 500m time trial gold medal yesterday.
The former Asian champion clocked 35.891 to take the gold ahead of younger teammates Farina Shawati Mohd Adnan of Selangor (36.608) and Melbourne-based Anis Amira Rosidi of Perlis (37.631).
Fatehah rounded up her day in style by romping to a fine win in the sprint final, beating Farina in two straight heats.
Fatehah had qualified fastest in the sprint qualifying in the morning with 11.336.
“This was the fastest time I have clocked in the sprint in the last two years, ” said Fatehah.
“I’m happy to win two golds for Terengganu as I also posted a good time in the 500m time trial earlier.
“I still have to improve before the Asian Cycling Championships (in South Korea) in October but there is time.
“The Asian meet will be my target as I want to be on the podium again.
“I was told this morning that I will be going to the India Track Cup, so it will be a good warm-up for me before the Asian championships as I have not gone to an overseas competition for some time.
“I will make use of the opportunity to get good racing time, ” said the 30-year-old, who is determined to show she is still competitive on the international stage.
Fatehah won silver in keirin at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon and is a two-time Olympian, but the lack of motivation saw her decline in form to the extent that she was excluded from the 2018 Asian Games campaign in Jakarta.
Fatehah, who was based in Melbourne previously, has since requested to train in Nilai in order to be closer to her ailing father Mustapa Kassim.
“I will go home and get a good sleep as I have the keirin race tomorrow. I did not win the keirin at the South East Asia Track Championships last week, so I will try to win the national title tomorrow.”
Azizulhasni Awang also did not disappoint with a double for Terengganu although he was made to sweat it out in the sprint by Muhd Fadhil Zonis.
Azizul needed to go to a third heat to beat Fadhil in the men’s elite sprint final.
Azizul also bagged his first gold from the 1km time trial, posting 1:03.168 to leave Fadhil settling for silver with 1:04.283.
“The last time I raced the 1km time trial was in my junior days. I told coach John (Beasley) this morning that I wanted to do this event as part of training, so he agreed to let me, ” said Azizul, who will compete in his pet keirin event today.