Tuesday, July 22, 2014

CYCLING: Aggression the only way

DON'T expect a mellowed Azizulhasni Awang in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, not even after the heartbreak suffered in New Delhi four years.

Then, Azizul was disqualified moments after winning the keirin gold for overly aggressive riding and compatriot Josiah Ng who finished second, was elevated to the top of the podium.

There was a happy ending for Malaysia but not for Azizul and one can be excused for thinking this will lead him to rein in his aggressive style in Glasgow.

But that is not Azizul's style and he promised that he will be at his swashbuckling best at the Sir Chris Hoy Arena when the cycling campaign begins on Thursday, with the keirin to be contested on Sunday.

“There is no way I am going to change my riding style despite what happened in New Delhi. I still believe I did nothing wrong then and the disqualification was unjust,” said Azizul when met at the Games Village on Sunday.

“My plan for the Glasgow Games is to ride the way I normally do, with aggression and determination.”

Azizul said he has trained hard for the Games and will not let the heartbreak of 2010 affect him.
“As far as I am concerned, what happened four years ago is now history. I am focused on Glasgow and am determined to do well.”

Azizul showcased his calibre when he bounced back from the New Delhi disappointment to win the Asian Games gold in Guangzhou just months later and admitted that he wants to add the Commonwealth Games title to his trophy cabinet.

“Winning the gold here will be massive as a world class field will be competing and I am looking forward to the challenge,” he said.

National coach John Beasley is supportive of Azizul’s determination to not hold back. “I don't think Azizul should hold back for he did nothing wrong in New Delhi. I feel that certain decisions (in major events) have gone against us only because of the colour of our jersey.

“Azizul is well prepared and I will not ask him to hold back just because of what happened in New Delhi. We have the world’s best keirin riders and they must be allowed to race as they want.”

It would be poetic justice indeed if Azizul does win gold, which will be placed alongside the World Championships silver and Asian Games gold already in his possession, which would mean only an Olympic medal will be needed to complete his collection.


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