AZIZUL Hasni Awang did not look like he had just been denied a Commonwealth Games gold medal. Instead, he looked and spoke as if nothing major had happened as he gave his version of the keirin final, which he won only to be disqualified minutes later at the Indira Gandhi Velodrome yesterday. While admitting that he was "a little disappointed" to have been stripped of the gold when he -- and many others -- felt he had done nothing wrong, Azizul said he accepted the decision and would start a new life."
"The race commissaire said I had been guilty of squeezing during the final but I don't agree with that. This was a keirin race and I had to race to win," said Azizul, a two-time world championships silver medallist.
He was deemed to have squeezed past New Zealand's Simon Van Velthoover and England's Peter Mitchell en route to crossing the finishing line first.
"Victory" tasted even better when he saw that Josiah Ng had made it a one-two finish for Malaysia. Minutes later his teammate was elevated to gold and Azizul was left out in the cold.
"They said I squeezed the two riders but I didn't do that. What happened is our wheels grazed when we navigated a corner and this always happens in keirin.
"What makes it worse is that I believe that this was technically the best I have ever raced in the keirin. My tactics were perfect and when an opportunity arose for me to take the lead, I was brave enough to do it. Other riders won't.
"But I am not going to let that affect me as what is done is done and I have to move on."
Azizul's miserable day was complete when he failed to advance to the sprint quarter-final, a failure no doubt caused in part by the keirin heartbreak but Azizul took it in his stride.
"It isn't over yet for me as I still have the team sprint to win a medal in and I will give it my all."