SPORTS

UNOFFICIAL OLYMPIC QUALIFICATION BRINGS RAYA CHEER FOR CYCLIST NURUL IZZAH

16/04/2024 06:40 PM

SEPANG, April 16 (Bernama) -- Up and rising national women’s track cycling star Nurul Izzah Izzati Mohd Asri’s decision not to celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri this year to participate in an international championship has paid off following an announcement that she has unofficially qualified for her first ever Olympic Games in Paris.

Acting Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) deputy president Datuk Amarjit Sing Gill confirmed that Nurul Izzah, along with Datuk Mohd Azizulhasni Awang and Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom had unofficially qualified for the Paris Olympics based on the points collected by the trio, with the official list scheduled to be sent to the National Olympic Council this month.

“I feel that this year’s Raya is worth it, I didn’t return empty-handed, there was a result even though I placed eighth but it’s very meaningful because I never got past the first round. It’s also one of my biggest achievements.

“My dream is to do better in Paris than what I did in Milton and I hope I can improve my time in the event, as the Olympics are a big and vital step for me,” the 20-year-old told reporters at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) Terminal 1 here today after returning from the UCI Track Cycling Nations Cup in Milton, Canada.

Meanwhile, national cycling head coach John Beasley said that Nurul’s debut at Paris will be the best preparation for her to face the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

“She is in the LA28 (Los Angeles 2028) project, she will go to Paris to gain exposure and experience. She is a rider with great potential and was at the same age as Datuk Azizulhasni when he started making a name.

"They are almost the same, small and explosive. We gave her the exposure she needed and it is now starting to give positive results. There are no high hopes for Izzah in Paris, if she can win a medal it would be great but our main target is the 2028 Olympics,” he said.

Nurul Izzah’s qualification makes her the second Malaysian women cyclist to compete at the Olympic Games after Fatehah Mustapha represented Malaysia in cycling at the 2016 Olympic Games.

Nurul Izzah, who will the first Malaysian woman to compete in two events, the keirin and the sprint at the Games, shot to public view after winning the gold in the keirin and 500 metre time trial at the 2024 Asian Cycling Championship in India last February.

-- BERNAMA


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