The Malaysian cycling squad started the third day of the Kuala Lumpur 2017 SEA Games with a convincing finished when they won the gold medal in the 51 kilometre team time trial event final at Nilai Square today.
The men’s team spearheaded by Mohd. Fauzan Ahmad Lufti, Nik Mohd. Azwan Zulkifle Mohd. Ameen Ahmad Kamal and Mohd. Ameer Mohd. Kamal surged ahead to the finishing line with a time of 1’1:37s.
They brushed aside their rival, Thailand who settled with a silver, clocking 1’01.56s while Vietnam walked away with a bronze in 1’02.00s.
It was suprised victory by the Malaysian cyclist as the event was not in their priority list.
They targeted to be in the top three after realising the strength of their rival namely Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.
“This is a bonus for us. We don’t expect to deliver gold medal because Thailand and Vietnam had shown great improvement this year.
“I just told the boys to do their level best and today they did it in a very convincing fashion. This event was not in National Sports Council (NSC) 13 gold medal target for cycling but we had the feeling that cyclist had the ability to set a surprised,” said team manager, Omar Saad when met after the race.
Malaysia had waited since 1989 to win the gold medal in the time trial event and their best achievement was in Myanmar four years ago which saw them deliver a bronze for the Malaysian contingent.
Omar said, the cyclist did a great job throughout the race and fought hard despite a strong challenge by their rivals.
He said, they also put up a fantastic strategy and never allowed the Thais to make a breakaway.
“I’m so proud of the boys who fight all the way until to the finishing line. It was a great race.
“With the achievement, I believed we can deliver more then the targetted 13 gold medal for the cycling team,” he added.
It was the second gold medal delivered by the cycling team after Mohd. Harrif Saleh won the men’s criterium yesterday while his elder brother, Zamri settled for the bronze.
Jupha Somnet finished with a silver in the women’s criterium.
Meanwhile, Nik Mohd. Azwan described their victory in the team time trial event as being due to their hard work before the SEA Games.
“We had been working very hard for the past one year and today we proved that all our hard work had paid off well.
“Once we walked in to the track this morning, our target is to go for gold and it works as planned.
“We fight from the start and maintained a good team work. Thank good, our wish to deliver gold for the country come true,” said Nik Mohd. Azwan.
Malaysian Cycling team medalist:
Men’s team time trail – Gold
Mohd. Harrif Saleh – Gold
Mohd. Zamri Saleh – Bronze
Jupha Somnet – Silver