KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian senior and junior cyclists stole the show with outstanding performances on the final day of the track events in the Asian Cycling Championships at the Kuala Lumpur Velodrome on Tuesday.
Asian Games-bound Mohd Rizal Tisin won Malaysia’s first gold medal in 19 years in the championships series, finishing as the winner in the senior category of the keirin race after some anxious moments.
The 22-year-old Rizal was declared the winner in a photo finish with Japanese Inagaki Hiroyuki.
The previous Malaysian champion in an Asian competition was Rosman Alwi, who won the 200m sprint gold medal at the 1987 Asian Championships in Bangkok.
Rizal’s victory was the first for Malaysia in the keirin event in the 26th edition of the Asian Championships.
Mohd Azizul Hasni Awang continued to stamp his mark as the star of the junior championships when he captured two more individual gold medals in a superb fashion on Tuesday.
Under the sweltering heat, the 18-year-old Azizul scorched the track in the 1km individual time trial, posting a personal best of 1:06.994 to claim the gold medal.
The time was even better than the one recorded by Asiad-bound rider Mohd Hafiz Mohd Sufian, who finished fourth in the senior competition in 1:07.478.
In the keirin final, the cool Azizul played his cards right to beat five others to the gold.
It was the first time that he was competing in the keirin event in an international championships.
Azizul’s efforts on Tuesday made him the first Malaysian to win three gold medals in either the senior or junior category of an Asian championships.
Azizul won his first gold medal on Sunday in the individual sprint final and the next day, he took silver in the team sprint.
With Azizul’s and Rizal’s achievements on Tuesday, Malaysia completed their challenge in the track events with a medal haul of 4-5-3 – their best-ever result in the series.
The other medals won yesterday came from Fatehah Mustafa (silver in the girls’ 500m individual time trial); Mohd Sayuti Mohd Zahit (silver, men’s senior 15km scratch); and Mohd Hariff Salleh (bronze, boys’ 10km scratch).
The Asian Championships continue Wednesday with the road races event in Putrajaya.