Azizulhasni Awang is beginning to show signs that he’s on the way back to his best after riding to a silver medal in the sprint event at the German Grand Prix in Cottbus on Saturday.
Azizul reached the final after winning both semi-final heats against Max Niederlag of Germany.
Azizul qualified 14th in the sprint qualifying round with a time of 10.24 while Asian champion Josiah Ng failed to advance after clocking 10.320 to be placed 18th.
Having won the keirin race at the national track championships early this month, the result in Cottbus is just the right tonic for Azizul as he prepares for the start of the World Cup Classics later in the year.
Azizul said he was all pumped up by the presence of many top competitors.
“Coach John (Beasley) was smiling … he must be happy with my performance. It was a great atmosphere for the final but Forstemann had more gas than me. Forstemann did 9.98secs for the second ride. Unbelievable,” tweeted Azizul.
It’s important for the cyclists harbouring hopes of qualifying for the Rio Olympics to do well in the World Cup Classic and the World Championships in Cali next year to gain an early foothold on the world rankings.
Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) deputy president Datuk Naim Mohamad said it was a commendable performance by Azizul “because there were Olympic and world championships medallists among the 45 sprinters”.
“Azizul only began his pre-season training as he faced visa problems. He only returned to his Melbourne base in late March,” he said.
“This will give him more confidence ahead of the World Cup Classics as he earned good points here in the presence of a strong field of riders.
“World sprint record holder and world champion Kevin Sireau of France is here along with the German and Dutch cyclists.”
Azizulhasni and Fatehah are riding under the Sime Darby Foundation Track pro team colours while Josiah is representing the national team.