22/05/2024 08:50 PM

NILAI, May 22 (Bernama) -- National track cycling ace Datuk Mohd Azizulhasni Awang bade farewell to the National Track Cycling Championships in normal fashion by defending the men's elite keirin gold in the 2024 edition at the National Velodrome here today.

Although trailing in the early stages, Azizulhasni, nicknamed the Pocket Rocketman stayed cool, calm and composed before hurtling his way past his opponents in the final round to clinch gold for Terengganu.

Johor's Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom, bronze medallist in the 2022 Commonwealth Games, and his brother Muhammad Ridwan took home the silver and bronze respectively.

Azizulhasni, the 2017 keirin world champion, described his victory today as a good result as he faced stiff competition from Muhammad Shah Firdaus, Muhammad Ridwan Sahrom and Selangor's Muhammad Fadhil Mohd Zonis.

"Although Muhammad Fadhil sped off in the early stages, I did not panic. Some other riders tried to block me to try and get ahead but I chose to stay calm (before romping to victory),” he said.

Azizulhasni, who admitted to competing today despite feeling unwell after winning the men's elite sprint gold by defeating Muhammad Ridwan yesterday, has decided to skip the men's elite 1-kilometre (km) time trial event on the final day of the championships tomorrow.

After being given a testing time by 23-year-old Muhammad Ridwan in yesterday's sprint event, the two-time Olympic medallist was again impressed with the performance of the young rider.

Azizulhasni, 36, is confident the young Muhammad Ridwan will be able to rock the track cycling scene in two years’ time.

Meanwhile, rising star Nurul Izzah Izzati Mohd Asri bagged gold for Kedah in the women's elite keirin event.

The 20-year-old, who is set to make her maiden appearance in the 2024 Paris Olympics, turned on the power to leave Selangor's Yong Ann Tung and Penang's Nurul Aliana Syafika Azizan to settle for silver and bronze respectively.

The 2024 Paris Olympics will be held from July 26 to Aug 11.


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