KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 — Kuala Lumpur Velodrome hosted its last race when the three-day National Junior Track Championships ended yesterday.
The velodrome, commonly referred to as Cheras Velodrome, will be demolished and redeveloped for commercial purposes.
The person likeliest to raise a finger to flick away a teardrop of remembrance is Rio Olympics bronze medallist, Azizulhasni Awang, for it was the place where he started his cycling career.
“It’s sad as Cheras Velodrome was the first venue at which I raced,” said Azizulhasni on the phone from Melbourne where he is training.
“It’s one of the places I grew up with and that made me what I'm today,” he reminisced.
“There are a lot of memories in Cheras. The velodrome will forever remain of sentimental value to me.
“On the good side, we finally moved on to have our own world class velodrome in Nilai.”
Meanwhile, former Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) deputy president, Datuk Naim Mohamad, had mixed feelings over the closure of the velodrome.
“I have mixed feelings as the Cheras velodrome bred our national, regional and Asian champions, and now our very own world champion and Olympic medallist,” he said.
“We had cycling track heroes such as Ng Joo Pong (who represented Malaysia at the 1964 and 1968 Olympics and the 1966 Asian Games), then Daud Ibrahim (who competed in four events in 1972 Olympics).
“The Cheras Velodrome was built 30 years ago. It continuously bred cycling icons like Rosman Alwi (who competed at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics), followed by M. Kumaresan (who competed in 1988 and 1992 Olympics), Rizal Tisin (2008 Olympics) and now Azizulhasni,” said Naim, who spoke at the special closing ceremony for the velodrome after the junior championships ended.
The land on which the velodrome stands has already been sold for commercial redevelopment purposes, but Naim revealed the developers have given the green light for national riders to train there until the Nilai Velodrome is ready next month.