KUALA LUMPUR: The attention was on the Asian Games-bound athletes but it was junior girl Fatehah Mustafa who stole the show on the opening day of the Asian Cycling Championships at the Kuala Lumpur Velodrome despite missing out on a medal.
The 17-year-old Fatehah, who posted an impressive time during the qualifying session, let slip a good chance to win a bronze medal in the 2km individual pursuit in her first major international outing.
The Asian senior and junior competition are held concurrently at the velodrome.
Yesterday, Fatehah, who made heads turn at the Kedah Malaysian Games (Sukma) by winning a whopping six gold medals, posted a time of 2:43.462, just seconds behind bronze medallist Taiwanese Liu Kuei-shans time of 2:42.115.
Powerful South Koreans Lee Joo-mi and Kim Eun-hee made it a 1-2 finish.
The bronze medal was within my grips but I let it slip, lamented the Terengganu lass.
However, the budding cyclist has qualified for todays semi-finals of the individual sprint event and said: I will certainly be out to make amends.
Despite not winning any medals in the mens 4km individual pursuit, national coach Ng Joo Ngan had praises for his two senior charges Amir Mustaffa Rusli and Thum Weng Kin.
They achieved their personal bests. They have showed marked improvement, said Joo Ngan.
Amir dipped below five minutes for the first time when he posted 4:58.308 while Weng Kin was timed at 5:04.675. His previous best was 5:06.00.
All eyes, however, had been on Melbourne-based Mohd Rizal Tisin and Mohd Hafiz Mohd Sufian in the mens sprint but both Doha-bound athletes failed to qualify for the semi-finals.
The 20-year-old Hafiz did not make the top eight while Rizals challenge ended in the quarter-finals.
Today, Hafiz, Rizal and Junaidi Mohd Nasir will be aiming to win a medal in the men's team sprint event. At the last Asian meet in India Malaysia won a bronze medal in this event.