Our cyclists hard at work Down Under despite Hari Raya do

PETALING JAYA: While the balik kampung exodus for the Hari Raya celebration began in earnest yesterday, a group of national cyclists in Melbourne were hard at work in the gymnasium.

And their unwavering commitment to training has been given the thumbs-up by Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) deputy president Datuk Naim Mohamed.

Hari Raya or not, the cyclists, led by the diminutive Azizul Hasni Awang, were all business as they went about their workouts in the hope of doing well in next year’s three major events – the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and the World Championships.

Besides Azizul, the others currently in Melbourne under the charge of John Beasley are Hafiz Sufian, Mohd Edrus Yunus, Adiq Husainie, Amir Mustapha, Akmal Harun, Fateha Mustapha, Mohd Zamani and Hariff Salleh. Mohd Rizal Tisin will be joining them after the Hari Raya celebrations.

Naim was full of praise for the cyclists’ perseverance.

“We have several cyclists in Melbourne. They will be away from their parents this Hari Raya but that has not dampened their spirits in training,” said Naim.

“This is the kind of attitude that will see them go far and win honours for the country.

“Due to the strict regulations in Australia, we are unable to send them any Hari Raya goodies. But they have planned a gathering during Hari Raya among themselves and I am sure they will have a good time despite being far from their loved ones.”

The cyclists are all gearing up for the Caledonian Race in Australia this month and the World Cup Classic next month in England.

Naim, meanwhile, is concerned about 21-year-old Azizul, who is currently being pushed to the limit in his bid to strike a balance between his studies and cycling career.

The World Championships silver medallist enrolled for a business course at the University of Deakin in Melbourne in June.

“He is going through the first semester blues. He was really tied up during his recent examinations. It will be a challenge for him to strike a balance but, hopefully, he will get better at juggling his time betweeen studies and cycling,” said Naim.

Azizul passed the early test in his balancing act when he nailed a gold medal in the 1km time trial at the Asian Cycling Championships in Indonesia a month ago.

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