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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Flag Bearer Olympic 2008

Olympic dream: Bad boy on track
By : Arnaz M. Khairul
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FOR cyclist Azizul Hasni Awang, who is Malaysia’s flag-bearer for the Olympics, it will be an even greater honour for him and the country if the Negaraku is played in Beijing as a result of his triumph.
As it will be the story of a rise of a truly home-grown hero, who started off being the bad boy of Malaysian cycling, thrown out due to indiscipline from the national junior squad just three years ago.
Even the doubter will not deny the fact that the 20-year-old double Asian keirin and sprint champion from Dungun is now among the darkhorses in Beijing.
Already, he’s been given the nickname “The Pocket Rocket Man”, by the international cycling press and Azizul is determined to live up to his name.
At 18, Azizul delivered a historic sprint treble of 200m sprint, keirin and 1km time trial gold medals in the 2005 Asian Junior Championships in Kuala Lumpur.
At 19 last year, he succeeded Rizal Tisin as Asian keirin champion in his first year as a senior and this year, he’s retained the keirin title and added the 200m sprint gold in the Asian Championships in Bangkok in April.
Also known as Jojo — in taking up the understudy role to Josiah Ng, who’s known as Jo — Azizul’s rise has been nothing short of meteoric.
He’s now touted as a sure bet to be Malaysia’s first world champion, if he doesn’t hit the target at the Olympics before that.
On his day, Azizul explodes into an unstoppable rhythm. His style has drawn superlatives from critics, believers in the fact that he’s a rider born to be a sprinter. But Azizul is wary of the attention he gets.
“I’m onlyAsian champion. Some people look at me, but it isn’t the same attention as an Olympic or world champion gets.The pressure too isn’t the same,” said Azizul.
It may be too early, but Australian Ryan Bayley was double Olympic champion at just 21 four years ago. Azizul has a chance to better that at just 20 this time.
“For sure, if a chance comes, I’ll take it.
Every athlete wants to go to the Olympics and win a gold medal. Age is not the determining factor anymore, but I’ll have to do it first before I talk,” said Azizul.
The RM1 miilion carrot dangled by the government doesn’t seem to distract Azizul, more so in the month leading up to the Games as the team put their final touches at a training camp in Valencia, Spain.
“The money, its amount, affects me just a little bit. But I race more for the dignity of my sport. It is a collective aim to make cycling the number one sport in Malaysia. That is what we all want,” said Azizul.
“We are preparing for everything, looking at all angles. Like here (in Valencia), we are preparing tactically for the sprint and keirin.
“More than that, every night before I sleep, I imagine Malaysia winning a gold medal in Beijing. Nothing is impossible and we have to believe it.” The sprints squad, under Australian coach John Beasley, comprises Azizul, Josiah, Rizal and 19-year-old Edrus Yunus.

» FACT FILE


MOHD AZIZUL HASNI AWANG@MUDA
• Date of birth: Jan 5, 1988
• Hometown: Dungun, Terengganu
• Height: 167cm
• Weight: 68kg
• Coach: John Beasley
• Likes: Music, di!erent types of food, singing, blogging and racing
• Dislikes: None
• Favourite movie: All comedy movies, Korean and Japanese
• Favourite food: Keropok, nasi lemak, nasi dagang and all traditional Terengganu food
• Favourite actor/actress: Adam Sandler, Jack Black, Jim Carrey, Stephen Chow and Nabil Ahmad
• Career high: 2008 Double Asian sprint and keirin champion
• Career low: His "rst ever race—the Dungun Mountainbike Race (did not "nish)
• Previous Olympic appearances: Debutant
• Beijing events: 200m sprint, team sprint, keirin
• Competition dates: Aug 15-19

3 comments:

Mohd Fahmi Irfan said...

Lagu negara ku akan berkumandang di Bejing....!

Tya ilyana said...

yeahh...hidup jijoe...peteh ganu peteh weh...

Rozaimi Bin Mohd Said said...

you are right...race for the pride of Malaysia and RM1m comes second. If you ride for Malaysia, a lot more will come but if you ride for the RM1m, you will only get that and nothing more...history has proven this

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