PETALING JAYA: Age is just a number in Azizulhasni Awang’s mind as he gears up for the Tokyo Olympics with renewed determination.
The Malaysian track cyclist may have turned 33 on Tuesday but is still going strong in the sport.
Azizul has dropped four rungs to sixth in the world keirin rankings for January with 1,100 points but that’s expected as some previous competition results have been removed.
In the sprint event, Azizul dropped to 13th from ninth with 900 points.
But for the Terengganu-born cyclist, the world ranking position did not really matter.
Azizul, who celebrated his birthday with his family back in Melbourne, only has three wishes – to enjoy good health, stay injury free and be successful in another Olympics medal hunt in Tokyo.
Come August, he will be the first Malaysian cyclist to ride in four Olympics.
“I will be one of the most senior athletes in the team going to Olympics and I take it as a responsibility, ” said Azizul.
“I am okay to take the pressure to deliver the medal. Hopefully, it will be the gold medal the country is still waiting for.
“This has been my personal target at each Olympics. My approach is not to take it easy in training as the preparations need to be more than 100 per cent as I get older, ” said Azizul, who won the keirin title at the Australia National Track Cycling Championships in Brisbane recently.
Azizul, who is also the Asian record holder in sprint, made his Olympics debut in Beijing in 2008 with a quarter-finals defeat in the sprint to British legend Sir Chris Hoy but did better at the 2012 London Games when he finished sixth in keirin.
He achieved the Olympics podium breakthrough in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 with bronze behind Jason Kenny of Britain and Matthijs Buchli of Holland. He went on to claim a stunning gold medal in his pet event at the World Track Cycling Championships in Hong Kong the following year.
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