PETALING JAYA: National cycling coach Ng Joo Ngan's charges have received a boost in their preparation for the Asian Games, which will be held in Doha from Dec 1-15.
They will spend the next two months in Melbourne, training with seven others who are already based there under the tutelage of John Beasley.
With no competitions lined up during the fasting month, Joo Ngan had appealed for the team to train in Melbourne. And he has now been given the go-ahead.
The five track riders who will be headed Down Under are Amir Mustafa Rusli, Mohd Akmal Amrun, Thum Weng Kin and Mohd Hariff Salleh, all members of the 4km team pursuit squad.
Six of the seven based in Melbourne are currently in Malaysia after having taken part in the Asian Cycling Championships. The six are Mohd Rizal Tisin, Junaidi Mohd Nasir, Mohd Hafiz Sufian, Mohd Faizal Mohd Noh, Noor Azian Alias and Uracca Leow.
All 11 will leave for Australia on Monday. Keirin specialist Josiah Ng is already training in Melbourne.
“In Melbourne, they will compete in races every week against the Australians. It will be good training ground for our cyclists.”
While the trip is expected to strengthen the team pursuit, Doha programme's head Damien Kelly was optimistic about Malaysia's chances in the keirin and sprint events.
In the recent Asian championships, the sprint team of Junaidi, Rizal and Hafiz shattered a two-month old national record en route to a bronze medal despite not having the services of Josiah. Rizal made the country proud by winning the keirin gold - a first in 19 years.
“We have two good riders in keirin – Josiah and Rizal. If we can have both riders among the top eight, we have a good chance of winning the medals. The other strong teams in this event are South Korea and Hong Kong,” said Kelly.
“With Josiah in the team sprint, we will have a formidable side to challenge for a medal – even a gold. In the 1km time trial, all hopes will be only Hafiz, who is currently ranked fourth in Asia. He can challenge for a bronze medal.
“In their two months of preparation, the major event for them will be the World Cup in Sydney.”
On the two women cyclists, Kelly said Azian, who has recovered from an injury, would be focusing on the point race while Urraca's best bet will be the 3km individual pursuit.