KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20, 2015:

National track cyclist Mohd Azizulhasni Awang won the bronze medal in the men’s elite keirin category at the 2015 UCI Track Cycling World Championship at the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines Velodrome in Paris on Thursday.

The 27-year-old Malaysian ace was beaten to the finish line by defending champion Francois Pervis of France and Edward Dawkins of New Zealand who picked up the gold and silver respectively.

Mohd Azizulhasni had won Heat 3 to qualify for the semi-finals and even though he was beaten by the same duo in Heat 2 in the semi-finals, got to realise his dream of competing in the finals.

However, it was not the same story for another Malaysian rider, Josiah Ng, who failed to be among the top finishers in the qualifying and repechage rounds.

Josiah was in 21st place overall together with Francesco Ceci (Italy), Kazunari Watanabe (Japan) and Matthew Baranoski (United States).

“What an amazing day for our team. My teammate Azizul rode like a gladiator today and ended up winning a bronze medal. I’m so proud of him and am honoured to be his teammate and friend,” Josiah said on his Facebook account.

In the posting, Josiah also announced that the the 2015 UCI Track Cycling World Championship was his last outing that that he was retiring from the sport.

“As for myself, I ended my career with front row seats of some great action in the keirin. My result today might have not had a fairy tale ending but I savoured this last moment of my career with my head held high.

“I’ve had many chances to shine and now it’s time for other Malaysians to keep doing us proud.

“Thank you to so many of you for supporting us all these years! It’s been an honour to have represented Malaysia for the past 15 years. I’m now officially a has been. Retired,” he said.

Meanwhile, Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) deputy president Datuk Naim Mohamad said Mohd Azizulhasni’s achievement was something to be proud of.

“I congratulate him for the fine performance, He is showing consistent performance after winning the event at the Asian Cycling Championship in Thailand earlier this month.

“The win also gives him additional ranking points which puts him in a good position to qualify for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics next year,” he told Bernama.

Mohd Azizulhasni’s best achievements at the UCI World Track Cycling Championship before this were winning two silver medals, in the sprint and keirin, at Pruszkow, Poland and Copenhagen in 2009 and 2010 respectively.

On Feb 5, Mohd Azizulhasni won the gold in the keirin at the 35th Asian Cycling Championship held in Nakhorn Ratchasima, Thailand. On Josiah’s retirement, Naim said Josiah had informed MNCF about it prior to the Paris meet.

“Josiah has served the country well for 15 years. MNCF has agreed to appoint him as the team manager for the national track team to the Rio Games.

“On Behalf of MNCF, I thank Josiah for his contributions in Malaysia’s cycling arena,” said Naim, who is also MNCF’s Track Cycling Development Committee chairman.

Josiah, who turned 35 on Feb 2, had competed in the Olympics in Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008) and was a reserve rider for the London Olympics.

The Sarawakian who was born in Manila qualified for the final of the keirin in Athens, becoming the first Malaysian to do so, but finished in fifth place.

His success earned him the Sportsman of the Year title for 2004 and Olympian of the Year 2004 by the Olympic Council of Malaysia.

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