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GEORGE TOWN, Sept 6 — Malaysians have more to cheer about now besides celebrating Malaysia’s resounding showing at the 2017 SEA Games and the recent 60th Merdeka celebrations.
The country has produced the first Malaysian to scale one of the world’s highest peaks by riding and carrying a mountain bike to the top.
The achievement is from endurance specialist Nur Azhani Mohamad Anil Shah, who led nine other Malaysian cyclists to reach the summit of Annapurna Circuit in Nepal 5,416m above sea level, covering a distance of 260km.
Nur Azhani, 29, who is a consultant for an insurance firm, said the team, members of the Malaysian Recreation Council, began training in January for the climb in May this year.
“We used the Batu Caves steps to train as we did not have a similar terrain in Malaysia. We also did simulation exercises in Shah Alam.”
They focused on building up stamina, endurance and mental toughness.
They also carried 40kg of items on their backpacks daily besides their specially-designed mountain bikes which weighed 13kg each.
The group also cycled 100km daily as part of their training in the Klang Valley.
The 10 cyclists were shortlisted from a pool of 112 endurance specialists.
“Along the journey, we suffered from varying degrees of altitude sickness. I was feeling dizzy and had a loss in orientation but we persevered.”
Nur Azhani added she was worried she could come down with acute mountain sickness but soldiered on, carrying or pushing her bike on trails which only allowed passage by foot.
The other Malaysians comprised seven men and three women between the ages of 26 and 47.
They are Shamsudin Ismail, Mohd Rossaimi Sulaman, Jacky Hong Fan Hoe, Mohd Zulhasrad Mohd Daud, Muhammad Subki Hussin, Mohd Zulhafidz Yahaya, Akmal Hayat Abdul Karim, Puteri Nabilah Megat Idris and Nazahiyah Mohd. Hadzir.
The Malaysia Book of Records has awarded the team the distinction of being the first Malaysians to cycle on a high-altitude track with Nur Azhani leading the way.
* Editor's note: Malay Mail Online apologises for the misspelling of Nur Azhani's name in a previous edition, which has since been corrected.