Six determined cyclists begin their journey towards Tokyo 2020 Olympics

The Sime Darby Foundation Track Cycling Team’s (SDFTCT)’s journey to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will officially kick off with their participation in the 3rd Hong Kong International Track Cup and the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Both tournaments will pave the way for the team towards qualifying for the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) World Cup Classics and Championships. The 3rd Hong Kong International Track Cup will take place from 31 March to 1 April 2018, and the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games from 5 to 8 April 2018.

Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom, 23, who came in third for the Keirin event during the World Cup Los Angeles 2017 and the Melbourne Grand Prix 2017, aims to clinch a Bronze medal for the same event at the Commonwealth Games.

SDFTCT members Mohamad Shariz Efendi Mohd Shahrin, 21, Muhammad Khairil Nizam Rasol, 21, Anis Amira Rosidi, 20, Muhammad Fadhil Mohd Zonis, 21, and Farina Shahwati Mohd Adnan, 22, are aiming to notch new Malaysian records at the games.

Overall, all six members of the SDFTCT will participate in a minimum of 11 competitions a year and potentially up to 35 races leading up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) Chairman Tun Musa Hitam, who is an ardent supporter of the team, commended their achievements thus far.

“Having followed their progress closely since we took them under our wing, I am confident that they have what it takes to make an impact in the global arena. The track may not be smooth all the way, but victory will certainly be theirs if they forge ahead,” he said.

“These boys and girls started out as shy junior athletes. And now, they have begun to actively engage with youths and inspire them to reach for the stars. As all our young cyclists come from underprivileged backgrounds, I am happy to see that their confidence and communication skills have improved alongside their performance on the track.

“I am proud to be a part of their transformation towards becoming holistic, world class athletes, and I wish them all the best in the upcoming races,” he added.

Selected by the National Sport Institute of Malaysia and the National Sports Council of Malaysia, the junior track cyclists were chosen for their potential in making the cut in the upcoming Olympic Games.

National Track Cycling Head Coach John Beasley said the team is working hard to prepare for both international games as they gear up to collect qualifying points from tournaments towards the Olympic Games.

“The six athletes are now at the major crossroad of going from junior athletes to being able to perform consistently at world-class competitions. We are focused on continuing their holistic training programme and ensuring a well-designed support network empowers them so that they can successfully navigate the road ahead.

“I am excited with their progress and I hope that these young athletes may not only make a name for themselves in the global arena, but also smash records and continue to make Malaysia proud,” he said.

YSD has committed RM2.6 million for the team to participate in international competitions and races that will allow them to earn the most points for qualification in the UCI World Cup Classics.

Results from races in the UCI World Cup will, in turn, allow the cyclists to qualify for the UCI World Championships and, ultimately the Olympic Games. This is the third round of funding that the Foundation has committed to prepare the Malaysian track cycling team for the Olympics.

YSD had previously supported the SDFTCT enroute to two Olympic Games – the London 2012 Olympic Games and Rio De Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games – with a total commitment of RM4.85 million.

Under its Youth & Sports pillar, YSD provides resources to promote sporting activities to help youths realise their full potential, cultivate sportsmanship and raise the standards of sports.

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