S’wak double champion Norismiza aims for Asian Games
by Adam Firdaus, firstname.lastname@example.org. Posted on June 28, 2012, Thursday
KUCHING: Young Sarawak cycling champion, Norismiza Azman is now trying to win as many competitions possible to build up her self-confidence and racing experience as she targets a place in the coming Asian Games.
The SMK Kuching High student surprised many to take both the Ladies Open and Sarawak Closed titles at the recent Lundu’s criterium held over the weekend.
Norismiza had defeated many experienced cyclists from other states including those from the national side.
The sole female representative from the evergreen Team Viking, the diminutive cyclist outran pre-race favourite, Laura Avila Adrian from Sabah in the four 2.5 km per-lap event to bring home her second road race title of the year and the champion’s prize money of RM250.
Laura who raced for Team Corbuiser is a nurse by profession and was last year’s Pangkor International mountain bike jamboree and cross country challenge second runner-up and the 2010 Melaka Sukma downhill silver medallist.
The SEA Games national squad member finished third in last year’s Kuala Lumpur Mountain Bike carnival women’s elite race.
Last year she was ranked 28th in the Malaysia National Cycling Federation (MNCF) grand prix while her elder sibling, Lauretta Eva Adrian was ranked 14th.
“I was feeling rather nervous at the start of the race because there were so many experienced riders and having the thoughts of competing against those from the national side had also given me the jitters,” Norismiza said.
According to Norismiza, the big group stayed together right from the flag-off and she together with the Sabahan rider could only managed to break free at the end of the third lap where both had to sprint all the way to the finishing line.
They were separated by just a few feet and the exhausted Norismiza was surprised to see her teammates and the crowd congratulating her at the finishing line, until she realised that the coveted championship title was hers.
She dedicated the victory to her supportive parents, former 1990s state cyclist Azman Arshad and wife Jamilah Mat, who have encouraged her to take up cycling at the tender age of 12.
“This is my second road race title of the year after winning the recent BCCK Ladies Open cycling event held in March and hopefully I can repeat similar achievement in the upcoming race to be held in Bintulu sometime in October,” informed Norismiza who is the second youngest in a family of four siblings.
Surprisingly, Norismiza prefers mountain bike racing instead of the road race although she does consider it as her pet event. However, the recent accolades have proven otherwise.
She also competed in Lundu’s 65-km Mountain Cross Country Challenge held the following day together with fellow Team Viking juniors, Ahmad Tarmizi, Mohd Fitri Hashim and Harnif Kamaluddin but they did not fare well due to technical problems.
At 14, Harnif was the youngest rider among the flock and could have finished among the top 10 in the Open Category and a possible podium finish in the Sarawak Closed category but his bicycle developed a puncture and his fate was sealed when the bicycle’s chain snapped as well.
“Honestly, I was only targeting to finish among the top five but the win was really unexpected,” revealed Norismiza who is most likely to represent Sarawak in the 2014 Sukma before her Asian Games dream becomes a reality.
Sarawak’s top woman cyclist, Kimberley Yap is currently ranked 8th in MNCF GP’s and won her maiden National Women Elite title in last year’s fourth stage of the National Cycling Championship held in Raub, Pahang.
The 27-year-old cyclist made Sarawak proud for being the first Malaysian athlete to compete in three different sports in last year’s SEA Games held in Bandung, Indonesia.
And Kimberley, who is the half-sister of multiple SEA Games swimming gold medallist and Olympian Daniel Bego, was also a former national swimmer and a triathlon gold medallist in the 2005 Manila games and had successfully defended her title at the 2007 Korat games.