TOKYO, Aug 8  — The keirin silver contributed by national track cyclist Datuk Mohd Azizulhasni Awang on the last day of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is very meaningful to the people of Malaysia, said Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican.

He said that although Azizulhasni could not fulfil his personal dream of presenting the country with its first Olympic gold medal, ‘The Pocket Rocketman’ always displayed a high fighting spirit.

He added that the 33-year-old rider’s determination, commitment and desire to achieve success in Tokyo were on show in the men’s keirin final at the Izu Velodrome in Shizuoka today.

“Azizulhasni had, right from the start, promised us something and he was among the reasons why I set the (medal) target. I am proud of the Terengganu-born cyclist because he showed an extraordinary fighting spirit.

“Winning silver is one thing, but being at the velodrome to witness his fighting spirit that drew applause from the spectators is something I am proud of and am grateful to Allah SWT,” he said when met by the Malaysian media at the velodrome.

In the dramatic final, defending champion Jason Kenny of Great Britain produced an exceptional ride by sprinting away early on to dominate the race from start to finish and win the gold medal.

Azizulhasni, 33, then pipped men’s sprint bronze medallist Harrie Lavreysen of the Netherlands to the silver.

“Thank you very much Azizul for the good news that has given so much joy to all Malaysians,” added Reezal Merican.

The silver medal means Azizulhasni, the 2017 keirin world champion, has gone one better than the bronze he won at the 2016 Rio edition. 


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