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Fast Track At Olympics Velodrome Raises M’sian Cyclists’ Hopes

By Tham Choy Lin

BEIJING, Aug 14 (Bernama) — A very fast track at the Laoshan Velodrome has Malaysian cyclists excited about their opening race in the men’s team sprint tomorrow after posting good times in training.

Double Asian champion Azizul Hasni Awang is getting his sights up for a record breaking feat as Malaysia seek to be among the top eight teams to qualify from the preliminaries.

“This velodrome is really top class. The track is really fast with a long straight and that’s excellent. Godwilling, we can set a record here,” said the 20-year-old Asian sprint and keirin champion.

Azizul said the team achieved good times in training here but is not revealing how fast they had zipped around the indoor 250m track with a maximum banking of 47 degrees.

“The timing was okay and I hope we can reproduce this during race time. I am not telling the time we did but I have the confidence and am impatient for the event to start,” said Azizul, who will also compete in the individual 200m sprint and the keirin.

The national sprint team record is 45.511s which is the 10th fastest in the world order.

The competition will see the top eight qualifiers compete in the first round and the top four will be in the final round. The top two fastest teams from the first round will vie for the gold and the third and fourth place for the bronze.

Josiah Ng is also gushing about the track, saying that the velodrome was the best he has ridden in.

“The track was very smooth and very fast. It’s just perfect and I did my best time here a few days ago,” he said.

“I am excited because I am in my best condition. This is the Olympics and this is what I worked for my whole life,” said Ng, who teams up with Azizul and Rizal Tisin in his second Olympics.

The team sprint will be a boosting prelude for Azizul and Ng for Saturday’s keirin event where both have chances of making the final. Ng finished sixth in the event in Athens.

The keirin is a 2,000m sprint event with a motorised pacer leading cyclists for a distance of 1,350m before the contenders make the break to the finish.

The first two riders from the first round heats enter a second round with losers going to the repecharge. The second round consist of two heats of six riders each and the first three of each heat in the second round qualify for the final.