PETALING JAYA: There was more Merdeka joy for Malaysia as the track cyclists delivered two more gold medals in the elite ranks of the Track Asia Cup II in Thailand.
Nurul Izzah Izzati Mohd Asri showed she is the future of Malaysian cycling after wrapping up her campaign in style with a second straight keirin win in the elite ranks.
Nurul romped to gold ahead of Indonesia’s Lestari Wiji in the final held at the outdoor velodrome in Suphanburi.
Rasee Panaray of Thailand just beat Malaysia’s Anis Amira Rosidi to the bronze medal.
The 19-year-old Nurul, however, missed out on a double when she was beaten by Hong Kong’s national team rider Yeung Cho Yiu in the sprint final.
It was still a commendable performance from the Kedahan as the Hong Kong cyclist needed a deciding heat to settle the outcome.
Nurul was also the fastest rider in qualifying with 11.803s ahead of Cho Yiu, who clocked 11.825s.
It was still a delightful end to Nurul’s campaign as she also won the keirin event in the Track Asia Cup I two days ago.
Negaraku was also played out for the second time as Amar Danial Masri, Mohd Fariz Haikal Mohd Kadir and Ahmad Safwan Ahmad Nazeri came out tops in the men’s elite team sprint event.
The Malaysian trio clocked 1:02.777 to finish ahead of Hong Kong, who posted 1:03.255.
The Malaysian trio were beaten to gold by the Thais in the Track Asia Cup I the previous day.
Mohd Ridwan Sahrom, the younger brother of Tokyo Olympian cyclist Mohd Shah Firdaus Sahrom, contributed a silver and a bronze for Malaysia in the individual events.
Ridwan did well to qualify for the men’s elite sprint final but lost both heats to Taiwanese Kang Shih-feng.
Ridwan was second fastest in qualifying (10.474) behind Shih-feng (10.337).
The 21-year-old clinched bronze in the keirin final behind To Cheuk Hei of Hong Kong.
Reigning Asian Games champion Jai Angsuthasawit delivered the cheers for the hosts by winning the gold.
Coach Harnizam Basri was pleased with the performance of the track cyclists.
“The main reason of our participation in Thailand was to get ranking points for the women cyclists to try to qualify for the world championships in Paris in October.
“For the back-up riders, it was also good exposure as they have not raced for more than two years because of the pandemic.
“I am happy that our riders got good racing experience from here competing with world class riders like Jai (Angsuthasawit), Kang Shih-feng and also Esow Esow from India (world junior championship silver medallist),” he said.
Team sprint: 1. Malaysia (Amar Danial Masri, Ahmad Safwan Ahmad Nazeri, Mohd Fariz Haikal Mohd Kadir) 1:02.777, 3. Hong Kong 1:03.255, Thailand 1:04.339.
1km time trial: 1. Park Sang-hoon (Kor) 1:03.044, 2. Jang Hun (Kor) 1:05.114, 3. Mohd Yusoff Mohd Elyas (Sin) 1:06.199.
Keirin: 1. Jai Angsuthasawit (Tha), 2. To Cheuk Hei (Hkg), 3. Mohd Ridwan Sahrom (Mas).
For gold: Kang Shih-feng (Tpe) bt Mohd Ridwan Sahrom (Mas) 2-0.
For bronze: Mohd Yusoff Mohd Elyas (Sin) bt Hsiao Shih-hsin (Tpe) 2-0.
Team sprint: 1. Taiwan 1:11.415, 2. Thailand 1:11.741, 3. Hong Kong 1:11.940.
500m time trial: 1. Yeung Cho Yiu (Hkg) 36.775, 2. Lestari Wiji (Ina) 37.289, 3. Ching Yin Shan (Hkg) 38.234.
Keirin: 1. Nurul Izzah Izzati Mohd Asri (Mas), 2. Yeung Cho Yiu (Hkg), 3. Rasee Panaray (Tha).
For gold: Yeung Cho Yiu (Hkg) bt Nurul Izzah Izzati Mohd Asri (Mas) 2-1.
For bronze: Lestari Wiji (Ina) bt Wang Sin Ting (Tpe) 2-0.