KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 20): The Malaysian contingent to the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games suffered a huge blow today when national track cycling ace Datuk Mohd Azizulhasni Awang was forced to pull out from the quadrennial Games following injuries sustained in a training accident on Friday (Sept 15).
The cyclist announced his withdrawal from the Sept 23-Oct 8 Hangzhou Asiad after discussing it with his coach John Beasley and teammates, saying it was the best thing to do to avoid aggravating his injuries.
“We discussed and made the best decision (as) there are many variables if I decided to go (to the Asiad), mainly that it could worsen my condition and prolong my recovery from the injuries.
“Let’s focus on the 2024 Paris Olympics, with just 322 days to go. I also want to apologise to our contingent and all Malaysians. The focus now is to recover as soon as I can,” he told a media conference at the National Sports Council (NSC) here today.
Although he can’t accompany the national track cycling team to the prestigious Asiad, The Pocket Rocketman said he will continue to support the national contingent.
Beasley said Mohd Fadhil Mohd Zonis will replace Mohd Azizulhasni in the men’s individual keirin event while Muhammad Ridhuan Saharom will be the replacement in the individual sprint event.
“We have capable racers (who are) in the best form. In keirin, we’ve got Shah Firdaus and Fadhil Zonis… and Fadhil was in (the) keirin (event at the) Asian Cup in Hong Kong a couple of years ago. He’s very capable of getting on the podium, and we have Ridhuan for the sprint. So, now it is an opportunity for them to show how good they are,” he said.
Meanwhile, Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) vice-president Datuk Amarjit Singh Gill said they respect Mohd Azizulhasni’s decision, which was made based on the advice of medical specialists.
He said that despite Mohd Azizulhasni’s absence, the MNCF hope the cycling team can still return home with a medal from the Hangzhou Asiad.
“It is a big blow because Azizuhasni was our best bet for a medal at the Asian Games. I think this is also an opportunity for the others to step up to the plate and give their best for Malaysia in Hangzhou. I also wish to state that our main goal is the 2024 Paris Olympics,” he said.
Mohd Azizulhasni had previously shared a 35-second video clip on his Facebook page showing the high-speed accident which occurred when he was undergoing training at the National Velodrome in Nilai in preparation for the Hangzhou Asiad. – Bernama