KUALA LUMPUR, May 3 —  A special task force has been formed to monitor and assist in the recovery process of national cycling ace Datuk Mohd Azizulhasni Awang, who successfully underwent heart surgery on April 21, said National Sports Institute (NSI) chief executive officer Ahmad Faedzal Md Ramli.

He said the task force, which comprises specialists from NSI and the National Heart Institute (IJN), would be keeping a close watch on the progress of Mohd Azizulhasni throughout his rehabilitation process.

The team will draw up an evidence-based structured rehabilitation programme using key data.

“With the support of sport medicine and sport science from NSI, we will be in regular communication with Azizul and keep track of important elements in this recovery programme.

“This includes his health, aspects of diet during recovery, support from family and friends, changes in training post-surgery and programme coordination among heart specialists, NSI experts and his coach John Beasley,” he said in a virtual press conference.

Ahmad Faedzal also said Mohd Azizulhasni would need all the support and prayers he can get as well as space to fully recover from surgery in these first three months.

The Tokyo Olympics 2020 silver medallist underwent open-heart surgery for a rare heart condition known as an anomalous aortic origin of right coronary artery (AAORCA) at the Epworth Richmond Hospital in Melbourne.

The dangerous disease can cause a heart attack and sudden death if not treated immediately.

Meanwhile, IJN sports director and senior consultant cardiothoracic surgeon Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Jeswant Dillon said the recovery process of “The Pocket Rocketman” has been divided into three phases.

The first phase entails recuperation from surgery, which is expected to last six weeks, followed by cardiac rehabilitation which may take between six weeks and three months

“The final phase involves his rehabilitation as an athlete. All these will be undertaken on an evidence-based approach by the team here, namely NSI, National Sports Council (NSC), Olympic Council of Malaysia, the Youth and Sports Ministry, and a team in Melbourne.

“We have done the ground work in Melbourne and have contacted doctors there, where Azizul has a very good medical support. Apart from this, we have also identified a sports cardiologist in Melbourne to help in his recovery as an athlete,” he said.

Mohd Azizulhasni is expected to continue his recovery in Melbourne together with his family until the end of this year.

Plans to move the national track cycling squad’s training centre to the National Velodrome in Nilai are expected to be implemented after the Hangzhou Asian Games 2022 in September.


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