PETALING JAYA: It was supposed to be a brief fling and never did it cross John Beasley’s (pic) mind that he would still be Malaysia’s track cycling coach after more than a decade.
Beasley is now in his 15th year and has become the longest serving foreign coach in Malaysian sports.
“I have to admit I was a little wary when I accepted the offer in 2006.
“I did not know anything about it, it was my wife (Vicky) who informed me.
“I also did not know anything about the cycling landscape in Malaysia before I flew there and the only cyclist I knew then was Josiah Ng.
“I just thought I would be there for a short while as it was a two-year contract and it would turn out to be a mistake and I would have to head home and get back to managing the family business.
“It turned out that Josiah was in need of a coach and it was through him that I got to know about the others, ” said the Australian.
“It’s like a relationship where both parties started to fall in love and there is a strong bond now.
“I just need to work hard and to be respectful of each other.
“They respect me and I respect them, ” added the 58-year-old, who has coached the world’s best which included Anna Wilson, Katie Mactier, Mitchell Docker and Gary Neiwand before heading to Malaysia.
And it didn’t take long for Beasley to reap the fruits of his labour.
At the Track Cycling World Championships in 2009, Malaysia shocked the cycling fraternity with two medals.
Rizal Tisin bagged bronze in the 1km time trial and Azizulhasni Awang claimed a stunning silver in the sprint.
Azizul has since gone on to win six more world championships medals including a historic gold in keirin in Hong Kong in 2017.
Azizul also claimed a first-ever Olympic bronze medal for Malaysia in Rio de Janeiro and Beasley now has his sights on preparing his charges to bring home the country’s first gold medal in Tokyo next year.
“It’s what every Malaysian is praying and hoping for... someone who is going to win that first Olympic gold. It’s about ticking all the right boxes and executing it right on the day.”