THE national para cycling squad gave notice of their intent in registering their first ever medal at the World Championships by taking two bronze efforts in two successive UCI P1 grand prix events in Switzerland over the weekend.
Both medals were delivered by Asian Championships gold medallists Mohd Khairul Hazwan Wahab and Faizal Mohd Noh in tandem events.
Khairul Hazwan, as stoker, and former national track cyclist Faizal as captain, proved they were on the right track first by taking the time trial bronze in the Para Cycling Zeitfahren Recherswil on Saturday.
The Malaysian pair clocked 15:35.72s for the 10km course to finish behind winners Marek Moflar and Jiri Chyba of the Czech Republic and Italy’s Assandri Bersini and Emanuele Bersini. In the same event, Mohd Saifuddin Rosli finished fourth in the MC2 (upper or lower limb impairments and moderate to severe neurological disfunction) category time trial.
In the C4 (cyclists with upper or lower limb impairments and low-level neurological impairment) category, Mohd Najib Turano finished fourth.
They then moved to Oensingen, Switzerland for the road races where Khairul Hazwan and Faizal again delivered bronze, with the Italians taking victory ahead of the Czech pair.
Saifuddin again finished fourth in the road race, while Najib was fifth in his road race.
National para cycling coach Johari Nayan said he was happy the squad have been able to maintain their level of performances since the historic success of the Asian Championships where they won two gold, three silver and three bronze medals.
“This squad are being geared towards the Asian Games in Incheon next year, but we’ve set a priority of qualifying for the World Championships in Canada on Aug 29-Sept 1,” said Johari.
“It was vital for us to come to these series of competition as the field is basically those who will be competing in the World Cup I in Merano, Italy next weekend and World Cup II in Segovia, Spain the following week.
“Both World Cup legs will carry ranking points towards qualifying for the World Championships, so the performances in these two GP legs, where there was a field of 180 entries in each class, is a confidence boost for the riders.”
The squad are also on a long term programme aimed at winning the country’s first Paralympics gold medal in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.