KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 17 — In a sarcasm-laden Facebook post today, national cyclist Azizulhasni Awang who clinched the bronze for the keirin event at the Rio Olympics expressed thanks to Terengganu Mentri Besar Ahmad Razif Abd Rahman who had offered no state aid despite previous pleas.
The pint-sized athlete who has been given the moniker “Pocket Rocket Man” pointed out that Ahmad Razif had done little to help both he and fellow Terengganu native, another national cyclist Fatehah Mustapa in the course of their preparations for the Olympics.
“To the Terengganu menteri besar Datuk Ahmad Razif, Fatehah and I still want to thank you though you refused to help me and Fatehah, both Terengganu natives who fought at the World and Olympic levels.
“Thank you for not buying us a ‘Roadbike’ for us to use in preparation for the Olympic Games despite a proposal being sent about a year ago prior to the Rio Olympics.
“Thank you too for not giving us any feedback and staying silent when my manager called you. For your knowledge Datuk MB, Fatehah and I who are world and Olympic-class athletes have always been overlooked by you Datuk MB. Maybe it is because of the fact that we trained overseas,” Azizulhasni wrote on his Facebook page.
Both Azizulhasni and Fatehah have been training in Melbourne, Australia in preparation of the Games.
However, Azizulhasni hoped Ahmad Razif would take the ribbing positively, expressing hope his criticism would help “open the eyes” of the authorities to look into their state athletes’ welfare in future.
Azizulhasni’s remarks appear to be in response to Ahmad Razif’s congratulatory message as reported by national news agency Bernama earlier today.
The mentri besar said the state would reward the 28-year-old as an incentive for winning the medal to inspire others.
“Thank you Azizulhasni, who never tires in carrying the Malaysia spirit to the world stage. Thank you also to all the coaches and their families. The Terengganu people are proud with the Pocket Rocket Man!,” Ahmad Razif was quoted saying.
Azizulhasni crossed the finishing line behind defending champion Jason Kenny from Britain and Dutchman Matthijs Buchli, making him the first-ever Malaysian cyclist to win a medal in the Olympics.
Azizulhasni, who was earmarked as gold medal prospects, won the Olympic medal in his third attempt after failing to qualify for the finals in the 2008 Beijing Games and sixth placing at the 2012 London Games.
Azizulhasni’s bronze medal feat is the second medal for the country after diving pair, Pandelela Rinong and Cheong Jun Hoong contributed a silver in the synchronised 10m platform last Tuesday.