For 'Pocket Rocketman' biopic, Azizulhasni backs Shaheizy Sam for role

he biopic gets thumbs up from (from left) Raja Mukhriz, Azizulhasni, Universiti Utara Malaysia vice-chancellor Professor Datuk Seri Dr Mohamed Mustafa Ishak and lecturer Idzwan Yacob during a press conference yesterday. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
he biopic gets thumbs up from (from left) Raja Mukhriz, Azizulhasni, Universiti Utara Malaysia vice-chancellor Professor Datuk Seri Dr Mohamed Mustafa Ishak and lecturer Idzwan Yacob during a press conference yesterday. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 15 — Azizulhasni Awang vividly remembers the RM50 his mother Selamiah Yong gave him in 2001 to compete in a mountainbike event that changed his life forever.

Malaysia’s most decorated cyclist used the money to travel to compete in the Selangor International Mountainbike, winning the race and RM500.

Azizulhasni, then 14, used the fund to launch his track career and these struggles will form the base of his biopic.

The movie, directed by Raja Mukhriz Ahmed Kamaruddin and slated for release next year, will focus on the challenges he faced en route to becoming a world keirin champion and an Olympic bronze medallist.

“The struggle I remember the most is my mother Selamiah (aged 54) sewing my jersey as we didn’t have enough money to buy one,” said Azizulhasni.

“She also gave me RM50 to travel to Kuala Lumpur for my race. I had to survive in the city with that cash.

“Glad those struggles will be on film and I hope it’ll inspire everyone to achieve great things even when life knocks you hard.”

Azizulhasni said the race remains “special” to him.

“That was my first international race before I switched to track cycling in 2002,” he said.

“I had to make sure the RM50 lasted for five days.

“Fortunately I won and was rewarded with RM500. I was so happy and paid my mother back.”

Asked which actor he preferred playing him, the Dungun-born rider picked Shaheizy Sam.

“I’ve met Shaheizy and he suits my character (due to size). Everything is still under discussion,” said the Pocket Rocketman.

“Maybe I’ll be in a few shots but these details are not finalised yet.

“The film will make my ACC (Asian Cycling Championships) more exciting. It definitely won’t affect my preparation.”

Azizulhasni also ensured the late Rozaimi Omar, who discovered him in Dungun, is given prominence in the biopic.

Azizulhasni is the second national athlete to feature in a biopic after shuttler Lee Chong Wei.

The three-time Olympic silver medallist’s biopic — Lee Chong Wei: Rise of the Legend — will hit the cinemas on March 9.

Despite his new venture, Azizulhasni will not be sidetracked from his target to win a ninth gold medal at ACC in Nilai which begins today.

Defending his World Championship title in Holland later this month and the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games remain Azizulhasni’s priorities this year.

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