After clinching a double the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Berlin last week Azizulhasni Awang’s hopes of winning medals at the Tokyo Olympics in keirin and sprint have soared.
The”Pocket Rocketman” won the bronze in the keirin and the sprint in Berlin and the hopes are high of a medal from the Dungun-born Azizul who won a bronze at the last Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
The Tokyo Olympics will be Azizul’s fourth after Beijing (2008), London (2012) and Rio and Malaysia are still chasing the elusive gold. Despite that, the government is pumping in an additional RM22.5 million in its bid the gold.
Cycling tops the list with an allocation of RM8.37 million followed by badminton with RM6.45 million, diving (RM2.32 million), sailing (RM1.69 million), archery (RM940.710), golf (RM738.000, artistic gymnastics (RM644.905), karate (RM588.975) and swimming (RM477.000).
The 32-year-old Azizul moved to fifth place in the sprint event after the bronze on Berlin with 2,415 points. He had earlier qualified for the keirin.
The other Malaysian athletes who have qualified for Tokyo Olympics are Farah Ann Abdul Hadi (artistic gymnastics); Khairulnizam Afendy and Nur Shazrin Latif in the men’s laser standard and women’s laser radial, respectively; Nuraisya Jamil and Juni Karimah Noor Jamali (women’s international470); Khairul Anuar Mohamad (men’s recurve archery); and divers Pandelela Rinong, Wendy Ng, Nur Dhabitah Sabri and Leong Mun Yee.