KUALA LUMPUR: A four-month training stint in Melbourne has given the national sprint team, led by Junaidi Mohd Nasir, the confidence to go one step better in the Asian Cycling Championships, which begin tomorrow at the Kuala Lumpur Velodrome.
The meet is the final competition for the cyclists ahead of the Asian Games, which will be held in Doha from Dec 1-15.
The 22-year-old Junaidi was among the four sprint cyclists who returned home from Melbourne on Sunday and he is all fired up to give a good showing in the Asian championships.
There has been great improvement in our team after the training under John Beasley (the coach of Malaysia's top track cyclist Josiah Ng). There have been better results, said Junaidi, who hails from Johor.
The other cyclists who trained in Melbourne were Mohd Faizal Mohd Noh, Rizal Tisin, Mohd Hafiz Mohd Sufian and Josiah. But Josiah will not be competing in the Asian meet.
Last month, the team did Malaysia proud by winning a gold medal in the Asia Cup Grand Prix in Bangkok. Just weeks before, they were the silver medallists in the Asia Cup leg in Ipoh.
The training was good under Beasley. We took part in a competition every week. We spent between one and two hours in the gymnasium and the workouts were very specific, said Junaidi, who was a member of the team who won a gold medal at the Manila SEA Games in December. I gained six kilograms in weight but have reduced my body fat. I am physically stronger now, he said.
We have Australians Jabie Dajka (Olympic champion) and Mark France (currently among the top 10 riders in the world) as our training partners. They pushed us hard in training.
Junaidi is aiming for a top two finish in the Asian meet.
We are feeling more confident of ourselves. I was in the team who finished third at the last Asian championships. We will go for at least the silver this time. A good showing here will put us on the right track for the Asiad, he said.
The track races will end on Sept 12. The road races will be held from Sept 14-16.