KUALA LUMPUR: The national junior cyclists continued to shine in the Asian Championships when Mohd Azizul Hasni Awang and Fatehah Mustafa bagged a gold and a bronze medal respectively at the Kuala Lumpur Velodrome yesterday.
It was Malaysia’s first two medals in the championships, which have the senior and junior competitions being held simultaneously.
Inspired by a telephone call from his mentor, sprint king Josiah Ng, from Los Angeles, Azizul blazed the track to win his first individual gold medal in 11.136, beating Korean Cheon Ho-chin, who was timed at 11.212.
The win certainly made up for the heartbreak of missing out on a bronze in the same event at the last year's championships in India.
“I am so happy that I won gold this time. I have trained hard for this championships and it feels great to beat the top Korean junior,” said the 18-year-old Azizul, who hails from Terengganu.
“Josiah is my mentor and he has been very encouraging. He was pleased with my timing in the qualifying round. I did 10.720. It was my personal best. Josiah told me to keep up the good work.”
Today, Azizul will be out to defend the team sprint gold medal together with Mohd Syamil Baharum and Mohd Harrif Salleh. The trio have qualified for the final against South Korea.
“Besides the team sprint, I am also looking forward to the keirin. Hopefully, a good showing here will increase my chances to get a place in the elite squad,” said Azizul, who trains under Soad Hussin.
The 17-year-old Fatehah, who also trains under Cikgu Soad, was pleased to win her first medal in the Asian meet.
“It certainly makes up for my disappointment yesterday when I missed a bronze medal,” said the Terengganu lass from the Bandar Penawar Sports School (BPSS).
“My challenge is still not over yet. There are few more events and I hope to perform even better.”
Like Azizul, Fatehah also looks up to Josiah and hopes to become an Olympian.
There was disappointment for the Asian Games-bound Junaidi Mohd Nasir, Mohd Rizal Tisin and Mohd Hafiz Mohd Sufian. They finished fourth in the senior team sprint after posting a time of 1:03.954 in the heats.
They will be up against South Korea today in a fight for the bronze medal.
4km team pursuit
Senior: 1. South Korea 4:18.285, 2. Iran 4:19.873, 3. Taiwan 4:26.771, 4. Japan 4:29.084.
Junior: 1. Taiwan 4:31.093, 2. South Korea 4:31.346, 3. Kazakhstan 4:38.364, 4. Malaysia (Mohd Harrif Salleh, Mohd Safwan Sawai, Mohd Zamani Mustarudin, Mohd Shahrul Mat Amin) 4:43.198.
Senior: 1. Tsubasa Kitatsuru (Jpn) 10.866, 2. Zhang Lei (Chn) 11.153, 3. Kazuya Narita 10-936, 4. Jeon Yeong-gyu (Kor) 11.501.
Junior: 1. Mohd Azizul Hasni Awang (Mas) 11.136, Cheon Ho-shin (Kor) 11.212, 3. Bae Jeong-hyeon (Kor) 11.224, 4. Farsnejadian Farshid (Iri) 11.437.
40km point race
Senior: 1. Makoto Lijima (Jpn) 107 pts, 2. Asgari Houssain (Iri) 62, 3. Cheung King Wai (Hkg) 57.
Senior: 1. Gong Jinjie (Chn) 12.270, Li Na (Chn) 12.944, 3. You Jin-a (Kor) 12.264, 4. Hsiao Mei-yu (Tpe) 12.539.
Junior: 1. Lin Szu Ping (Chn), 2. Jutatip Maneephan (Tha), 3. Fatehah Mustafa (Mas) 12.732, 4. Choi Ye-lim (Kor) 12.942 (China's Szuping was declared the winner after the Thai failed to turn up for the final race).