PETALING JAYA: National track cycling head coach John Beasley believes Azizulhasni Awang or Mohd Shah Firdaus Sahrom can smash the Asian record in the men’s individual sprint next week.
He is feeling confident after watching the cyclists go through their first training session at Izu Velodrome in Shizuoka yesterday.
Track competition starts tomorrow but the Malaysian cyclists will only go into action when the individual sprint qualification takes place on Wednesday.
Beasley is anticipating some fast times given that the Izu Velodrome is located on higher ground and coupled with the good condition of the duo.
Reigning keirin world champion Harrie Lavreysen of Holland had also stated that he found the track to be “super fast” in his Instagram posting.
“I think most of the riders find the track to be the same (fast),” said Beasley.
“The track is slightly wider than other tracks at 7.5 metres, which helps with (banking) transitions. Most tracks are usually about 6m wide.
“The Izu Velodrome is also located slightly higher at 600m (altitude), so the air density is lower but at the same time it is not so high that you can feel the physical effects of high altitude.
“The barometric pressure here is roughly 960 hectopascal (hPa) while for normal sea level velodromes it is usually about 1,020hPa. It is this lower air density which makes this track faster.
“I am feeling confident that we can lower the Asian record because the boys are in very good form at the moment and I couldn’t be more happy with our preparations.
“For most of the year, their performances have been suppressed by heavy training loads but they have had the chance to rest and we are hoping to see some strong performances here,” he said.
Azizulhasni currently holds the Asian record for the 200m sprint – 9.548s, which he set en route to taking bronze at the World Track Cycling Championships in March last year.
Azizulhasni is no stranger to competing at the Izu Velodrome. He had won two bronze medals in the Asian Cycling Championships there back in 2016 but the track has been resurfaced since then.