Azizul welcomes incentive from home state as he prepares for Olympics


Huge boost: Azizulhasni’s mother Salamiah Yong receiving the incentive from Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar in Kuala Terengganu.

PETALING JAYA: Things are looking up for track cyclist Azizulhasni Awang as he gets ready for what will be a defining Olympic year.

First, there is the RM100,000 incentive from his home state Terengganu to Azizul and archer Khairul Anuar Mohd for qualifying for the Tokyo Games next year.

Azizul’s mother Salamiah Yong received the incentive on his behalf from Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar in Kuala Terengganu on Sunday evening.

Azizul welcomed the timely windfall.

“I want to express my appreciation to the Terengganu state government, namely the Mentri Besar, the state exco and the Terengganu State Sports Council for giving me this incentive under the Road to Tokyo Programme.

“I am grateful to the state government for showing that they care about their Tokyo-bound athletes. This will be very useful for my preparations,” said Azizul, who will become the first Malaysian cyclist to compete in four Olympics when he arrives in Tokyo.

The end of September also brought good news for the Melbourne-based cyclist.

The strict restrictions imposed on Melbourne since August will be eased from next month after the rolling 14-day average of new infections stayed between 30 and 50 cases.

Melbourne only had 12 new infections on Saturday and 16 on Sunday.

“It’s good news as my children can look forward to going to school and the night-time curfew may be lifted soon.

The 32-year-old cyclist, who was named the Sportswriters Association of Malaysia Best Athlete of the Year last month, was also happy that he managed to achieve the KPI set by coach John Beasley despite having no competition since late February.

“I never stopped training despite Melbourne going under lockdown in August. We were still allowed to train at the velodrome because we are considered professional athletes.

“John had set a KPI and since we have achieved this, we are moving into another phase, strength conditioning.

“I’m happy that my level is about the same as what I was at during the world meet in Berlin.

“There is still a lot more to come,” said a determined Azizul, who wants to be at his best to bring home the elusive gold medal in Tokyo.

Azizul won two bronze in keirin and sprint at the Track Cycling World Championships in Berlin in February and that was his last competition before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Azizul made cycling history at the last Olympics in Rio four years ago when he bagged a bronze for Malaysia’s first cycling medal.

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