KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 21 — National track cycling ace Mohd Azizulhasni Awang and Mohd Shah Firdaus Sahrom have kept up their momentum towards the Tokyo Olympics by dominating the men’s elite sprint event of the Victoria Elite Track Championships yesterday.
The 33-year-old Azizulhasni edged Mohd Shah Firdaus in the final at the Darebin International Sports Centre Velodrome, according to the http://results.auscycling.org.au.
The Dungun-born Azizulhasni, who has a personal best of 9.548 seconds, clocked 10.126s in the qualifiers to top the preliminary round, followed by Australian Sam Gallagher (10.171s) in second place and Mohd Shah Firdaus (10.186s) in third.
En route to the final, Azizulhasni, the 2016 Rio Olympics keirin bronze medallist, overpowered Mace Colson of Brunswick Cycling Club in the quarterfinals and Blackburn Cycling Club’s Conor Rowley in the last-four stage.
Mohd Shah Firdaus bettered two Blackburn Cycling Club riders, Sean Cleary and Gallagher, in the quarterfinals and semifinals respectively to set up the clash against Azizulhasni in the final stage.
The two elite riders, based in Melbourne under the guidance of head coach John Beasley, are preparing for the postponed Tokyo Olympics, where Azizulhasni is the country’s best hope to win its maiden gold.
Meanwhile, in road cycling, another Terengganu lad Mohd Harrif Saleh won the Grand Prix Velo Manavgat in Turkey.
The Terengganu Cycling Team (TSG) rider finished the 147.5km race in three hours, 13 minutes and 35 seconds to excel in his first race after a year out of competitions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The UCI 1.2 race saw Polish rider Alan Banaszek from Mazowsze Serce Polski and Andriy Kulyk of team Ukraine completing the podium, while Italian sprinter Andrea Guardini from Giotti Victoria - Savini Due finished fourth in the same peloton.
Another TSG rider Youcef Reguigui of Algeria finished seventh in the same group. — Bernama