Azizulhasni Awang (center) earned the crown as the new Asian Sprint champion. (Instagram)

Azizulhasni Awang clawed his way back to earn the new crown as Asia’s Sprint Champion at the Asian Cycling Championships in Jakarta, Indonesia. 

Commonly known as the ‘Poketrocket man’, he had to fight his way back to beat China’s top sprinter Xu Chao in a photo finish in the deciding heat to claim his fifth Asian championships sprint title and a record ninth career gold medal.

En route to the finals, Azizul also defeated teammate Shah Firdaus in two heats, while Xu earned his shot at gold after beating Watanabe in similar fashion.  

Azizulhasni Awang and coach John Beasley (right). (Instagram)

“We (Xu Chao and I) have met in the sprint match many times, and I can say everytime when we’re racing against each other, it’s always a tough one. I knew it’s going to be a three round race as we both sharing one thing in common, toughness,” said Azizul via Instagram.

“Xu controlled the race really well on the first round and i made some adjustments on the second round to make it equal and go into the decider round. For the last race, I give full credit to my coach, John Beasley who gave me a very good tactic and instructions that leads to my win.”

the new Asian Sprint champion, Azizulhasni Awang.

“I am so happy with this achievement as it is my 9th Asian Champion Title and also a bounce back from the disappoinment from the Keirin the other day. On top of that, i also gained massive points for the Tokyo Olympics qualification for my individual sprint event which another good news for me.” continued Azizul.

The new Asian Sprint champion, Azizulhasni Awang. (Instagram)

Mohd Shah Firdaus Sahrom also claimed the bronze with a superb performance to beat defending champion Kazunari Watanabe of Japan in two heats earlier. 

Shah Firdaus’s younger brother Mohd Ridwan Sahrom clinched the bronze in the men’s junior sprint after beating fellow Malaysian Fariz Haikal Mohd Kadir in two heats. 

Source: The Star and Instagram.