Azizul bounces back to win it at final bend

  • Cycling
  • Sunday, 08 Dec 2019

CLARK: Azizulhasni Awang showed what a fighter he is by bouncing back superbly to claim a stunning win in the keirin at the Track World Cup leg in Cambridge, New Zealand.

The 31-year-old track cyclist timed his move to perfection as he stormed to the front at the final bend and held off former world champion Shane Perkins, now riding for Russia, to wheelie his way past the finish line.

Australia’s world champion sprinter Matthew Glaetzer got the bronze ahead of Asian Games champion Jai Angsuthasawit of Thailand.

Making up fifth and sixth placings in the strong final field were Japan’s Yuta Wakimoto, the Asian Cycling Championships winner in South Korea this year, and Russian Denis Dmitriev.

Azizul advanced to the main final in style by winning the second round heat involving five other cyclists.

The Rio Olympic bronze medallist had earlier finished second behind Glaetzer to advance automatically to the second round.

It was only a week ago when Azizul finished out of the medals despite making the final in the third World Cup in Hong Kong.

This is only his fourth World Cup gold medal in his illustrious career.

The last time he won gold at the prestigious meet was in Beijing in 2010.

Azizul hopes his success will also inspire the Malaysian athletes to work harder to contribute more medals in the ongoing SEA Games in Philippines.

“The week did not start well for me as I arrived tired after an 11-hour flight from Hong Kong and then I was called up very early the next morning by the doping officer for a random test,” said Azizul.

“As a professional cyclist, I always cooperate.

“But I got the gold finally and the Malaysian flag flies in New Zealand tonight.

“This gold is specially for you Malaysia.

“I am so grateful for the endless opportunities and the huge support given in my career,” said the 2017 world champion, who is on track to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics next year.

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