The last of the roses

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia has several international-class coaches in track cycling, who can produce a posse of top cyclists. But sadly, there is only one woman rider in the elite ranks.

Fatehah Mustapa’s recent retirement from the sport leaves Anis Amira Rosidi as the only active woman track cyclist around.

Anis Amira Rosidi is the only woman rider in the elite ranks.Anis Amira Rosidi is the only woman rider in the elite ranks.

Anis was based in Melbourne together with the male track cyclists but is back in Malaysia because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Track coach John Beasley believes the country needs more women cyclists and one of the solutions to address the lack of athletes is by having basic facilities in each state.

“I’m not talking about flashy facilities like the National Velodrome in Nilai, just a basic bitumen track around 350m to 400m in circumference with a coach who can run the club out of each venue, just like badminton, football, squash, swimming, athletics or any other sport.

“The irony is that we have world-class coaches in track cycling currently in Malaysia but a lack of riders.

“I think it’s because we only have one avenue to recruit from and no basic facilities in each state,” said the Australian, who felt the different stages have not been able to roll out programmes to entice females into the sport of track cycling.

“I really believe that there are many world champions walking the streets of Malaysia but they just have not been identified as yet.

“The other big issue is that we just have no avenue for them to be able to take up the sport of track cycling.

“We have virtually no avenue or platform for a young female to become a cyclist other than coming through a sports school system.

“We really need someone to help set up a system to be able to roll out a club-based system in Malaysia for track cycling.

“What I would really like to see is a structure or platform where a young female cyclist who dreams of one day being an Olympic champion can have a platform to do so. We are today so far from being able to make that happen. That is why we have so few female athletes,” added Beasley.

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