No change in 10-gold target for cyclists in spite of accident

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An unfortunate road accident during training marred their preparations for the 9th Para Games road cycling events but the Para Cycling Association of Malaysia has not cut down on their 10-gold target.

Malaysia are targeting at least 10 golds out of the 26 that are up for grabs – 14 in the track and 12 in the road cycling events.

The track events are from Sept 17-18 while road cycling competition takes place on Sept 20-21.

Team manager Mohd Asri Abdul Mubin is confident that the national cycling squad are still the favourites despite an ugly accident involving four cyclists and coach Johari Nayan while training along the Kuala Lumpur-Kuala Selangor (Latar) Highway on Thursday.

The blind cyclists are Khairul Anuar Azwan Wahab and Khairul Nizam Mohd Ali and their pilots Nor Rizuan Zainal and Nur Syafiq Suhaimy.

“This year we will compete in 24 events with 26 cyclists and eight officials will be involved in the Games. We’ve prepared well but it was rather unfortunate an accident throw a spanner in our preparations.

“But this accident has not dampened the spirit of our cyclists and the rest of the contingent,” said Asri.

Coach Sallehudin Mohd Noh said the initial target set remains…six golds from track cycling and four from the road events.

“Right now the condition of the athletes of Khairul Azwan Wahab and Khairul Nizam Mohd Ali hase stabilised and we will wait for the doctor’s report. If they are reported fit, we will maintain the set target.

“This is the first time we are hosting the event in the Para Games so we don’t have any records on the other nations. However, we will be training with them to analyse the situation and where we stand,” said Sallehudin.

According to Sallehudin hosts Malaysia will meet the likes of Brunei and Singapore in the tandem events. Meanwhile, in the individual events the hosts will compete with Brunei, Singapore and the Philippines.

Sallehudin believes Malaysia has the upper hand as the team had won a silver and a bronze medal in the 2014 Asian Para Games in Incheon, South Korea.

“We’ve competed with teams from Japan and South Korea in the Asian meets. So we believe that competing in the Southeast Asian region will be an advantage for us..

It is also learnt that cyclist Mohd Afiq Afify Rizan (stoker), who aims for three gold medals in the Games, had won the bronze medal with pilot Muhd Khairul Adha Rasol in the UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships in March.

Meanwhile, new recruit Mohd Najib Turano, who will be competing in the track and road events, has set a three gold medal target as well. – BY ALVIN OH

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