Two years ago he quit the national elite squad following a bad back injury but Mohd Firdaus Mohd Zonis is back and ready to don national colours again.

On Monday the 21-year-old two-time Asian Junior treble champion and touted as the heir to world keirin champion Azizulhasni Awang – showed that he has still has “plenty of cycling in him” when he combined with visually impaired partner Mohd Amin Najmi Romzi to bag the men’s 4km individual pursuit (B) gold in the Asean Para Games track cycling competition in Nilai.

The the duo set the pace at the National Velodrome in Nilai with a stunning performance to upstage compatriots and favourites Afiq Afify Rizan-Khairul Adha Rasol with a winning time of 4:55.501. Afiq-Khairul won the silver in 5:09.455.

Firdaus first shot into the limelight at the Asian Junior Cycling Championships in New Delhi when he clinched a treble – winning the 1km time trial, sprint and keirin – and repeated the feat in 2014 in Astana, Kazakhstan.

“I’m thankful to win the gold medal for Malaysia at the ASEAN Para Games with my partner Amin. We’ve been training together for the past six months and Amin took my advice really well.

“My brother Fadhil played a role in helping me with my confidence. He has always been supportive and encourages me with a simple message  ‘I know you can do it’ which really spurred me on.

“It was also my former coach Yafiz Jamaludin (currently coaching in Brunei)  who convinced me back into the cycling scene.

“And I’m doing this for my family and I want to be like Fadhil and make my father proud.” said Firdaus, adding that he came back to competitive cycling six months ago.

Firdaus is now hoping to join the ranks with his brother Mohd Fadhil and the national track cycling team headed by Australian coach John Beasley.

“I must admit that the long layoff has affected my skills and fitness and regain my physique. I am currently working on my weights. It will take a while for me to get back into real good shape but I’m confident that I can do it again.

“If I do receive a national call up, I would take the offer once again. But as for now at the Para Games, I will work hard at this stage to build myself again. The Para Games are the stepping stone for me for better things to come in my cycling.

“If our national coach John wants me back in the team and join them in Melbourne for training, I would gladly join them if given the opportunity. I will give my all for the country and the team,” added Firdaus, who also hopes to be a part of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. – BY ALVIN OH

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