AZIZULHASNI Awang begins his campaign at the Olympic Velodrome today seeking to improve on his quarter-final appearance of four years ago.
Then, he was beaten by cycling phenom Chris Hoy but Azizul does not have to worry about the Briton as he will not be defending his title. However, it is still a highly classy field and the Malaysian has to be at his best to even advance past today's first round.
Azizul, though, has been his confident self this past week in London and said his target for the sprint is the same as the keirin -- a medal, if not gold.
"I am more wiser and mature now and I know that the Olympics bring the best out of riders but I mustn't worry about the others as I have to focus on what I can do," said Azizul when met at the velodrome on Thursday.
The sprint is a three-day affair with the final on Monday and it is an arduous competition with repechages and all but this could be the exposure Azizul needs before Tuesday's keirin, where he will join 17 other riders -- including Hoy -- for a tilt at the gold.
Fatehah Mustapa failed to advance to the women's keirin semi-finals yesterday after first finishing fourth in the first round and then fifth in the repechage. Fatehah had raging British favourite Victoria Pendleton for company in her first round heat.
Divers Cheong Jun Hoong and Ng Yan Yee also failed to advance to the women's 3m springboard semi-finals after finishing the first round in 20th and 24th places respectively. Only the top 18 advanced to the semi-final.
Sailor Khairulnizam Mohd Affendy, who completed races seven and eight yesterday, dropped one spot to 45th in the standings.