Local Track cyclist favourite Azizulhasni Awang picked up more points to close in on his Olympic dream by bagging the men’s sprint title in the South-East Asia Track Grand Prix I at the Cheras Velodrome in Kuala Lumpur.
The 27-year-old, who is going to be a father for the second time with the birth of his second daughter next month, beat compatriot Muhd Shah Firdaus Sahrom in two heats to claim the gold.
Azizul is now ranked world No. 2 behind Colombian Fabian Hernando Puerta Zapata in the Olympic points rankings for Keirin and should be assured of a place in Rio. But Azizul is looking to qualify for the Sprint too and he is also the reigning Asian sprint champion.
“We are just starting the second part of the Olympic qualification campaign. My Olympic spot for Keirin is safe as long as I compete in the World Cup in November and the Track World Championships in London in March next year.”
“But I want to qualify for the sprint as well and that’s where meets like the South-East Asian Track GP help me improve on my ranking position. I reckon I need to be inside the world’s top 24 to get a spot for sprint,” said Azizul, who made the keirin final at the 2012 London Olympics.
Azizul was happy to get the better of training partner Shah Firdaus.
“This was the objective of our coach John (Beasley) for coming back here to compete – to dominate and get full points. Josiah Ng has retired and Shah Firdaus is now my training partner. He is coming up fine,” added Azizul, who will vie for a second gold in keirin on Wednesday.
Asian Games keirin silver medallist Fatehah Mustapa made it a double for Malaysia on the opening day by bagging the women’s sprint title. She easily beat Farina Shawati Mohd Adnan in both the heats.
Malaysia also picked up a silver through Muhd Afiq Huznie Othman in the men’s 15km scratch race.
RESULTS (All finals)
30km points race: 1. Timur Gumerov (Uzb) 66 pts, 2. Sarawut Sirironnachai (Tha) 45, 3. Muhd Zawawi Azman (NSC) 40.
15km scratch race: 1. Ruslan Fedorov (Uzb), 2. Muhd Afiq Huznie Othman (Mas), 3. Muhd Zawawi Azman (NSC).
Final: Azizulhasni Awang (Mas) bt Muhd Shah Firdaus Sahrom (Mas) 2-0.
Third placing: Kapunya Worawut (Tha) bt Abdul Hadrie Morsidi (Bru) 2-0.
Final: Fatehah Mustapa (Mas) bt Farina Shawati Mohd Adnan (Mas) 2-0.
Third placing: Shanon McCurley (Irl) bt Fitriani (Ina) 2-0.
Keirin: 1. Muhd Syazrin Shaari (FT), 2. Muhd Shahril Harun (Per), 3. Muhd Faiz Amirul Chai (Joh), 4. Jakhangir Aamov (Uzb), 5. Muhd Waffy Daeng Aminuldin (Nse), 6. Mohd Hasanudin Sudin (Kel).
10km scratch race: 1. Muhd Izat Tolha (Sel), 2. Muhd Denial Haikkal (NSC), 3. Muhd Syazrin Shaari (FT).
Source: The Star