PETALING JAYA: The World Track Cycling Championships starting today in France presents the perfect opportunity for sprinters Mohd Fadhil Zonis and Mohd Shah Firdaus Sahrom to show just how far they have come.
National track cycling head coach John Beasley said he is pleased with their preparations and is confident both riders have what it takes to be fighting for podium positions at the Stab Velodrome in Roubaix.
“I am pretty excited and happy with where they are at (performance wise),” said Beasley in a video uploaded to Fadhil’s social media recently.
“It has been a long season for everyone. For Fadhil, he was our emergency (back-up) for Tokyo (Olympics) and although he did not go to Japan, he has kept training really hard for a long period of time.
“Fadhil got some small rewards in Hong Kong (UCI Nations Cup) which was great and was a bonus for all his hard work. He is now ready for the next step.
“I am confident he (Fadhil) can stand on the podium in Roubaix and in the next couple of years, I am sure he will be on the top step of the podium.
“This is just the start of a long process to get him from where he is now to get to that top step,” said the Australian.
Fadhil, who is the Asian record holder in the 1km time trial event, raised eyebrows when he scalped a number of big names en route to the keirin gold at the Track Cycling Nations Cup in Hong Kong in May.
The 23-year-old won silver in the 1km time trial at the same meet.
Beasley added that he was equally optimistic about Shah Firdaus’ chances in France.
His outing in the Tokyo Olympics was hampered by a crash during the opening round of the keirin but the 25-year-old still managed to reach the quarter-finals despite suffering cuts and bruises during the crash.
“With Shah I think there is no reason why he can’t win a medal in the sprint and he certainly has a chance of winning the keirin.
“He has held his form wonderfully well. I expected a bit of a drop off (after Tokyo) but it has not been to the extent that I expected.
“He has had that extensive training background over the last Olympic cycle and it has stood him in good stead even though he has had some time off.”
Fadhil and Shah will both ride in the keirin tomorrow as well as the individual sprint which will run over Saturday and Sunday.
Fadhil will also compete in Friday’s 1km time trial.
Beasley is not making the trip to Roubaix as it would mean that he would not be able to return to Australia due to travel restrictions imposed by the latter.
Beasley’s trusted lieutenant Harnizam Basri will be in charge of coaching the duo in France.