(Instagram/AzizulAwangOfficial)

Hard work, determination and perseverance has paid off for ‘Pocket Rocketman’ Azizulhasni Awang who finally claimed the rainbow jersey at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Hong Kong.

A culmination of 10 years blood, sweat and tears on the velodromes in Track Cycling, Malaysia’s pride and joy has finally reaped the highest accolade of his career. In a stunning display of speed,  the 29-year-old timed his last sprint to perfection to win the Keirin final last night by a comfortable margin to create history for Malaysia. He is also Malaysia’s first world champion athlete in an Olympic sport.

Azizul finished ahead of in-form Colombian Fabian Hernando Puerta Zapata and Czech Babek Thomas to become the new world champion for men’s keirin.

Azizulhasni Awang wins the UCI Keirin World Championship 2017. (Reuters)

The Rio Olympic bronze medallist rider was the only Asian to reach the top-six final and he gave little indication of his form when he earned his ticket earlier.

Azizul only finished third behind reigning Commonwealth Games champion Matthew Glaetzer of Australia and Thomas, a two-time World Cup winner this season in the second round heat. He had earlier finished second in his first round heat behind Zapata to earn an automatic ticket to the second round.

When it mattered most, Azizulhasni put the pedal to the metal and has made a notch in international history of Track Cycling. Chapeau, champion, chapeau!

It’s unbelievable night for me. I’ve been trying so hard to get this world title. Since 2007 when I first stepped into the elite level, i keep chasing for this. I ended up bronze and silver twice and lost only by millimetres but i never give up. I believe if i keep working hard and believing in myself, my time will come. Everyday during the training session i kept pushing the boundaries hard. People said i can’t success in sport because of physical size. I know i’m racing with giants. Big powerful guys out there. But this battle i showed it like David and Goliath. I believe if you want something, there’s always a way to get it. You just have to work it out and never give up. I did that. Again and again. Again and again. Again and again. I pray to Allah everyday to grant me this victory. I believe he listened to my call. And this time in Hong Kong Is the witness of this history Finally my goal to become A W O R L D C H A M P I O N Has become a reality. #azizulawangisaworldchampion #worldchampion #keirin #rainbowjersey #thanksAllah #uci #worldchampionship #twc2017 #teamazizul #azizulawang #MalaysiaBoleh

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Source: The Star Online and Instagram