PETALING JAYA: They say great leaders bring out the best in others.
And the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) vice-president Datuk Amarjit Singh Gill is hopeful that the National Sports Council (NSC) will extend coach John Beasley’s contract until the Paris Olympics in 2024. The Australian, whose contract ends in December, has been handling the elite cyclists for over a decade in Melbourne.
Under his tutelage, Azizulhasni Awang romped to a silver medal in the Tokyo Olympics earlier this month.
It was Azizul’s second Olympic medal after winning a bronze in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.And Azizul can still be counted on for another shot at the elusive gold as he will be 36 in 2024.
Cycling great Chris Hoy of Britain won two Olympic gold medals in team sprint and keirin at the same age before retiring after the 2012 London Olympics.
“Normally contracts are extended for one or two years but I hope the NSC will make special considerations to keep our coach until Paris,” said Amarjit.
“There’s no reason not to extend as he has proven himself at the last two Olympics to raise Malaysia’s profile in a sport dominated by Europeans.
“In Tokyo, Azizul was in very good form going into the final and he would have surely brought back the gold medal if he was drawn as the first rider behind the derny.
“I’ve spoken to John and he doesn’t mind staying as long as possible as he wants to continue producing more success for Malaysian cycling.
“John also doesn’t mind relocating to Malaysia as long as he still has his support team.
“Apart from that we now have our own indoor velodrome in Nilai which makes things easier.
“It’s a reasonable request which will benefit Malaysia. I don’t mind begging NSC if it has to come to that,” he said.
Azizul and Mohd Shah Firdaus Sahrom prepared for the Tokyo Olympics under a support team made exclusive to the duo.
Beasley has paid tribute to high-performance manager Izham Mohamad, sports science specialist Chee Lee Ming, physiotherapist Mollynica Juanis and assistant coach Harnizam Basri for turning Azizul into a world champion and Olympic medallist.