KUALA LUMPUR: It’s no secret that former Asian champion Rosman Alwi’s biggest regret is that he never won a gold medal when the SEA Games were held on home soil.
That’s why he has urged the national cyclists to seize the chance to make history at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games from Aug 19-30.
Rosman went through a disappointing SEA Games campaign in KL in 1989 when he suddenly collapsed while getting ready for the deciding heat against Indonesia’s Tulus Kalimanto in the 200m sprint final.
Rosman, who was then coached by his father Alwi Ahmad, ended up with a silver.
The 1985 National Sportsman of the Year had a second chance to win gold when Malaysia hosted the 2001 Games. But, by then, he was already on the verge of retirement and finished empty-handed.
“I had my chances. The second time (2001) I wasn’t so strong anymore at almost 40 years old and Josiah Ng took over the baton by winning two golds.
“The first time (1989) was the most painful for me. I don’t know what happened until today. I was not breathing well a few days before the race and the funny thing is the doctor checked me and said I was okay. Some also asked me whether I ‘chickened out’ or was under a magic spell,” said Rosman, 55.
At the height of his career, the rider nicknamed “Turtle Head” bagged two track cycling gold medals at the 1985 SEA Games in Bangkok.
The Kampung Datuk Keramat local went on to claim one track cycling gold at the 1987 SEA Games in Jakarta.
He also won the 200m sprint gold medal at the Asian Cycling Championships in Bangkok the same year.
It was another 19 years before Malaysia produced another Asian winner through Rizal Tisin in the keirin in the 2006 edition in Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia’s best achievement in the SEA Games came on home soil – winning four golds in the 1977 and 1989 editions.
This time, the riders can make SEA Games history as the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) are aiming to win 13 out of the 20 gold medals at stake.
“The majority of the gold medals should come from the track as our cyclists are the strongest in the region and they have had the best training.
“I am proud to see a cycling world champion in Azizulhasni Awang in my lifetime.
“I’ve never doubted his talent. I knew he would win it one day. The cyclists will be racing at the world-class National Velodrome in Nilai and I plan to be there to watch them in action.
“I did not win gold but I hope this batch will not throw away the opportunity to do it on home soil as you never know when they will get another chance,” said Rosman, who competed in two Olympic Games – Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988.