A place to call his own

My baby: Track cyclist Azizulhasni Awang showing the plan for the new velodrome named after him back in his hometown in Dungun.

PETALING JAYA: Squash queen Nicol David has two and track cyclist Azizulhasni Awang will soon have one to call his own too.

The two world champions may come from different sporting backgrounds but share something similar... a sports complex named after them.

There is already the Nicol David Arena at the National Squash Complex in Bukit Jalil and a venue in Penang which was renamed the Nicol David International Squash Centre.

And the ‘Pocket Rocketman’ is set to receive a similar honour when the Azizulhasni Awang Velodrome in Dungun, Terengganu is completed in 2022.

Work on the velodrome, which covers about two hectares and cost almost RM12mil, started in December last year in Azizul’s hometown but was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, a recent update from the state government stated that almost 40% of construction work has been completed.

The 2017 world champion keirin cyclist has been waiting for the day since the project was announced in 2010 to return home and open the venue.

“The presence of this new velodrome will really boost the cycling ecosystem in Terengganu, ” said Azizul.

“It not only can be used as a training ground but also to hold national level competitions. We do not need a very big velodrome as something of this size will be enough.

“We have a lot of talent and I’m sure if I can become a world champion, there is no reason why others can’t.

“Maybe in the past, there is not enough facility but now we have the National Velodrome in Nilai, the new Johor Velodrome and soon one in Dungun, ” said Azizul, who is based in Melbourne.

The 32-year-old cyclist is gearing for his fourth Olympic appearance in Tokyo next August where he is hoping to improve on the colour of the medal he won in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Then, Azizul claimed a bronze to become the first Malaysian cyclist to stand on the Olympic podium.

And how perfect it would be if he returns to cut the ribbons of the new velodrome as an Olympic champion.

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