NUR Aisyah Mohd Zubir came to the rescue for the road cycling team with a bronze effort as hopes of a gold in the men’s event failed to materialise.
Competing in the 29.6km criterium, Aisyah finished third in the bunch sprint behind Vietnam’s silver medallist Nguyen Thi That in Hoa Binh province yesterday.
Thailand’s top road cyclist Jutatip Maneephan, the 2014 Asian Games champion, claimed the gold with 46:39.
Malaysia’s secondary riders, Jupha Somnet (same time) and Siti Nur Alia Mansor (five seconds behind) crossed the line in sixth and 18th place respectively.
Aisyah, who has been in the national squad for the last four years, was delighted to earn her first Games medal.
“I’m grateful that our strategy worked and that we were able to get a medal,” said the 24-year-old, who rode to seven golds in the 2018 Perak Sukma.
It was a bitter pill to swallow in the men’s event as almost every other country plotted against Malaysia.
Terengganu Cycling Team pro cyclist Harrif Saleh was the outright favourite for the gold in the 44.4km race yesterday.
However, he failed to break clear of the pack as only a three-man breakaway was allowed in order to win the race.
Vietnam’s Quang Van Cuong crossed the finish line to take gold in 56:13. Thailand’s Sarawut Sirironnachai and Singapore’s Yeo Boon Kiak (both same time) claimed silver and bronze respectively.
Harrif, Nur Amirull Fakhruddin Mazuki and Nur Aiman Zariff came in 17th, 19th and 21st.
Harrif had won the event at Singapore 2015 and Kuala Lumpur 2017. The event was not held at the Philippines in 2019.