She earned another timely confidence boost in her efforts to finish on the Asian Cycling Championships podium next month after winning the women’s elite keirin gold medal at the Track Asia Cup in New Delhi, India, on Wednesday.
Fatehah powered her way through the last bend to pip rising Indonesian star Crismonita Dwi Putri on the line for her first international keirin win in nearly two years.
Hong Kong’s Cho Yiu Yeung took the last podium spot as two other Malaysian cyclists Anis Amira Rosidi and Shawati Mohd Adnan finished fourth and fifth respectively.
The 30-year-old Fatehah claimed the silver medal in the sprint final behind Crismonita but it was surely a victory to savour as it was achieved on her favourite hunting ground.
It was at the Indira Gandhi Velodrome where the seasoned Malaysian cyclist last won the Asian championships sprint title in 2013 and Fatehah relishes her efforts in turning the tables on her younger rival, who is nine years her junior.
Fatehah lost to Crismonita in the sprint final at the South-East Track Championships in Nilai last month but immediately bounced back to win three gold medals (sprint, keirin and 500m time trial) at the National Championships.
“It’s a good warm-up for me before the Asian championships (in South Korea from Oct 17-21),” said the two-time Olympian.
“I have not gone for an international competition for sometime, so it’s a good win.
“I hope to finish on the podium at the Asian championships again as I have not managed to do so for sometime.”
Fatehah became the country’s only woman cyclist medal winner at the Asian Games when she won the silver in keirin in Incheon in 2014 but her form declined to the extent that she was excluded from last year’s Asian Games in Jakarta.
She then requested to switch base from Melbourne late last year to train in Nilai in order to be closer to her ailing father Mustapa Kassim.
The national anthem was also heard on three other occasions yesterday when the men’s elite 4km team pursuit comprising Ariff Denial Noor Rosedi, Mohd Hakimi Nor, Mohd Yusri Shaari and Eiman Firdaus Mohd Zamri came out tops (4:14.534) against India (4:14.864) in the final.
Yusri also beat two Kazakhstan cyclists to the men’s elite scratch race gold medal while Eiman rode his way to the men’s elite 4km individual pursuit title.
4km individual pursuit: 1. Eiman Firdaus Mohd Zamri (Mas), 2. Denis Burnashov (Kaz), 3. Alexandr Bekenov (Kaz).
For gold: 1. Malaysia (Ariff Denial Noor Rosedi, Mohd Hakimi Nor, Mohd Yusri Shaari and Eiman Firdaus Mohd Zamri) 4:14.534, 2. India 4:14.864.
For gold: 1. Crismonita Dwi Putri (Ina) bt Fatehah Mustapa (Mas) 2-1.
Keirin: 1. Fatehah Mustapa (Mas), 2. Crismonita Dwi Putri (Ina), 3. Cho Yiu Yeung (Hkg).
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