National track cyclist Mohd Azizulhasni Awang has created history by bringing home Malaysia’s first ever gold medal at the 2017 Track Cycling World Championships in Hong Kong.
Dubbed the ‘Pocket Rocketman’, the 29-year-old finally claimed the victor’s rainbow jersey he has been aiming for his entire career after a decade of blood, sweat and tears.
“I never stopped trying, I kept trying. I kept pushing harder in the training. Sometimes I puked... because I really want to become world champion,” he told AFP
“I don’t want to end up my career become second or third, so I promised to myself to keep pushing because I know if I don’t give up, it’s going to be my day.”
Azizulhasni raced to the finish line in 10.253 seconds, ahead of Fabian Hernando Puerto Zapata from Colombia and Tomas Babek from Czech Republic.
Proud Malaysians, including Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, took to social media to express their joy over Azizulhasni's incredible feat:
In previous keirin events, Azizulhasni only managed to take home a silver medal in 2010 in Denmark and the bronze medal twice in 2015 in France and 2016 in United Kingdom.
The Terengganu native was also a bronze medallist at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Meanwhile, fellow Malaysian cyclist Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom failed to advance to the second round at his first world meet.
He finished second in the first repechage race behind Joachim Eilers from Germany.
Azizulhasni and Shah Firdaus will now shift their focus to the individual sprint event happening tomorrow.