EARLIER, he has given up hope of competing in the London Olympics. But following a change of fortunes, Amir Mustafa Rusli is now only focused on giving a great show in the world's greatest sport event.
The 24-year-old has begun producing some impressive results in his second month in Belgium with Australian team Drapac Cycling.
He finished sixth in the Numansdorp Criterium in the Netherlands last week to register his best result yet.
Days later he was announced by the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) as the pick to join Champion System's Adiq Husainie Othman as Malaysia's two representatives in the road race in London.
"I had given up hope as everywhere, the press reports seemed to indicate that Harrif Salleh would be the one going to the Olympics," said Amir.
"But my team manager Agostino Giramondo kept telling me not to worry as the course in London is hilly and I would be the right rider for that. Thankfully he was right."
Apart from joining Adiq Husainie as Malaysia's qualifiers for an Olympic road race, Amir will also become the first Olympian from established outfit Drapac Cycling.
He will remain in Belgium for the duration of Drapac Cycling's stint in Europe and from June 29, will be joined there by Adiq Husainie and track riders Azizulhasni Awang, Josiah Ng and Fatehah Mustapa as the national team set up their final preparations towards the Olympics.
"I'm planning for the Olympics from now. I'm going to try and remain in the front pack and stay there when they get to the Box Hill, which is a difficult climb we have to negotiate nine times during the race," said Amir.
"My form has improved and right now I can feel that I've gone through a lot of changes. All my focus will definitely be on that Olympics road race." By Arnaz M. Khairul