Azizulhasni Awang. A name to remember.
In a world of sport dominated by the westerners – cycling – there is one chap who hails from back here in Malaysia who is now making a big name for himself and for the country.
His name is Azizulhasni Awang. He is presently the world’s no. 1 keirin rider. In the upcoming London Olympics 2012, Azizul is earmarked as a potential gold medalist.
What makes it more compelling in his rise is his moderate childhood upbringing and family background which did not come even close to sporting. People would think his small town in Dungun, Terengganu to be one of the last places in the country a world champion would hail from. His first serious ‘training bicycle’ was a second hand bike received from his late father when he was 15.
His relatively smaller size compared to established western cyclists does not stop Azizul from stamping his name among the world’s greats, consistently proving his ability to compete at the highest order. It’s a no wonder he is being referred as Azizul the Pocket Rocket, attributed to his size, speed and sharpness.
In 2009, the name Azizulhasni Awang suddenly became the talk of the town after being hailed as the overall winner of the Keirin event in 2008–2009 World cup with two heroic track winning performance. He is the 2nd Malaysian who managed to achieve the feat after Josiah Ng, who did it twice before.
Later, he became the first Malaysian to have won a medal at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Poland, dashing his way to a silver in the men’s sprint event.
Last week, Azizul put his name into the history book as the first track cyclist who wins three successive world title, and it was achieved under the most extraordinary circumstances. Already leading the world championship points, he needed to finish at least fourth to secure the overall title.
An unfortunate accident involving himself and a group of cyclists at the final lap seemed to have ended Azizul’s hope. But much to the horror of the spectators in the Manchester velodrome, he got back onto his bike and made a final dash – with a piece of 20-cm wood visibly sticking out of his calf, from one end to another.
He finished third that ultimately landed him the World Cup overall title.
Born in 5 January 1988, Azizulhasni received his education in Sekolah Kebangsaan Batu 48 (primary) and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Sultan Omar in his hometown, Dungun, Terengganu, in the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia.
Upon completing his PMR (Penilaian Menengah Rendah), he was offered a place by three different schools – an MRSM, a science school, and the national sports school in Bukit Jalil. He chose the sports school due to his deep passion in sports, particularly cycling.
Azizulhasni Awang is certainly on the right track to establish himself alongside Malaysia’s sporting living legends such as squash queen Nicol David and badminton ace Lee Chong Wei. He was named as the National Sportsman of the Year for 2009 and upstaged both Nicol and Chong Wei for the coveted Sportswriters Association of Malaysia-100 Plus Athlete of the year, announced only 2 days ago.
[images: daylife.com, allvoices.com]