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Monday, August 17, 2009

Cyclist Azizul delivers second gold for Malaysia

By LIM TEIK HUAT

PETALING JAYA: Azizul Hasni Awang delivered Malaysia their second gold medal in the Asian Cycling Championships but Rizal Tisin failed to retain the 1km time trial title at the Tenggarong Velodrome in Samarinda in Kalimantan, Indonesia, last night.

Rizal clocked 1:05.759 to settle for silver behind China’s Han Tao, who finished in 1:04.915 in the final held on a 250m track.

A fresher Azizul started the golden trail for Malaysia by winning both heats of the 200m sprint final against the fancied Japanese Kazunari Watanabe, who had ended a three-year domination by Malaysia in the keirin event two days ago.

But Azizul proved a point with his performance in the sprint yesterday.

“My condition was not good initially because of the long travelling process,” said the world championship silver medallist, who arrived on the eve of the competition after a long flight from Melbourne to Jakarta via Kuala Lumpur and then a three-hour road trip from Balikpapan.

“The keirin final and team sprint final were about 25 minutes apart. We had wanted to win the team sprint gold for the first time as everyone gets to share the joy.

“I was a bit apprehensive over whether I could win today as the track is very bumpy and not suitable for my style of riding. But losing one of the semi-final heat, I knew what to do in the last 50m.

“I used to lose to Watanabe when I first started out a few more years back and I’m glad to turn the tables on him.”

Azizul was the fastest qualifier before clearing two elimination rounds on Saturday to reach the final.

Malaysia’s tally after the end of the senior competitions stood at 2-2-2.

Mohd Edrus Yunus and Hafiz Sufian failed to make the elimination rounds after finishing ninth and 10th respectively in the qualifying rounds.

Earlier, Fatehah Mustapa missed out on a chance to secure her third individual medal from the women’s keirin event, finishing sixth in the final.

The Terengganu lass, who was down with fever after arriving in Samarinda, had won bronze medals in the 500m time trial and 200m sprint.

Meanwhile, Masziyaton Radzi and Noor Azian Alias finished 11th and 13th in the women’s 101.6km road race, which was won by China’s Tang Kerong in 2’55:23.

It will be the turn of the juniors to strut their stuff on the track today while the road action continues with the individual time trial for seniors and juniors.

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