PETALING JAYA: Malaysia will be represented in road cycling at the Olympics for the first time since 1992.
This is by virtue of Malaysia finishing as the fourth-ranked country in the Asian men’s rankings behind Hong Kong, Indonesia and Japan.
The four countries get to field two riders each in the individual road race at the London Olympics.
Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) deputy president Datuk Naim Mohamad said that the national body would have the final say on the two riders.
He added that they would make their decision based on the cyclists’ performances in major competitions, like next month’s SEA Games and next year’s Tour of Langkawi and Tour of Malaysia.
Those in the running for the two slots for road cycling are Anuar Manan, Muhd Rauf Nus Misbah, Akmal Amrun, Adiq Husainie Othman, Amir Rusli Mustafa and Mohd Shahrul Mat Amin.
M. Kumaresan is the only Malaysian to have competed in the Olympic road race discipline.
Kumaresan made his Olympic debut in Seoul in 1988 and before making another appearance in Barcelona in 1992, featuring in the track endurance apart from road disciplines.
Naim said that having two riders in the road race of the Olympics marked a new chapter for Malaysian cycling.
“This will make up for having fewer riders qualifying for the track event at the Olympics due to stricter qualification rules,” he said.
“We had four cyclists in track cycling at the Beijing Olympics but we are looking at no more than three for London next year.”
Azizulhasni Awang, Josiah Ng, Rizal Tisin and Mohd Edrus Yunus competed in the Beijing Olympics three years ago.
However, it looks like Azizul and Fatehah Mustapa are good bets to make the grade for London in the keirin discipline.