‘Reach the finish line first,’ Azizul tells Fadhil and Shah Firdaus

Go for it, guys: Azizul seen here with Shah Firdaus (left) and Fadhil (right).

PETALING JAYA: Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Azizulhasni Awang is confident teammates Mohd Shah Firdaus Sahrom and Mohd Fadhil Zonis are up to the task to maintain Malaysia’s proud record in the World Track Championships in France.

Azizul posted words of encouragement to his younger teammates who are now in Roubaix for the mission.

Shah Firdaus and Fadhil had begun the first-round action in the men’s elite keirin late on Thursday but it is the men’s 1km time trial today where Fadhil may stand a chance to make the podium.

Fadhil was the silver medallist at the 2020 Asian cycling championships in South Korea and holds the Asian record of 1:00.305, which he set at the world meet last year.

“I believe my presence will not be missed. I believe Shah and Fadhil are ready to shoulder the responsibility for the country in the world championships,” said Azizul.

“I wish them good luck and hope they will fight all the way in their events.

“After looking at the list of competitors, there is only one advice from me to them – make sure you reach the finish line first,” said Azizul, who decided to skip the world meet for the first time in 10 years to be around for the birth of his third child in Melbourne.

Azizul is not the only big name to sit out the world meet as Britain’s reigning Olympics champion Jason Kenny is also not competing.

Malaysia have won a total of eight world championship medals in the last 12 years.

Rizal Tisin claimed the first world championship medal when he took bronze in the men’s 1km time trial event in Poland in 2009 but the rest were won by Azizul in either sprint or keirin.

In the 2020 edition in Berlin, Azizul contributed a bronze each in sprint and keirin.

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