Pint-sized Nurul out to face Asian giants

KUALA LUMPUR: Track cyclist Nurul Izzah Izzati Mohd Asri admitted she is nervous in her Asian Games debut.

The pint-sized rider's stock is rising fast, but she faces a daunting task against the giants of Asia - China and Japan - in Hangzhou from Sept 26-29.

Last month, at the World

Championships in Glasgow,

Nurul dipped below the 35-second mark for the second time this year to finish 19th in the 500m time trial in Glasgow.

She also finished 31st in the sprint to emerge as the sixth fastest Asian behind China and Japanese cyclists. In the keirin, she could not get past the heat and repechage.

Based on her performance in the Asian Championships (ACC) in June, she could finish on the podium in the Asiad.

Nurul said her main target is a medal in the team sprint with Nurul Aliana Syafika Azizan and Anis Amira Rosidi.

"I feel a bit nervous. I have won medals in the ACC, and I'm thinking whether I can do so in the Asian Games," said the Kedahan who won a 500m time trial silver at the Asian Championships in Nilai in June.

"I have changed to a new bicycle. I expect to win medals in the Asian Games like in the ACC.

"At the ACC, we were only two seconds behind South Korea to finish fourth in the sprint, I believe we can do well in this event."

Fatehah Mustapa is Malaysia's only Asian Games medallist in the women's category. She clinched a keirin silver at the 2014 Incheon edition.

Izzah, 20, said: "Based on performance in the World Championship, China and Japan are world class, they are older and more experienced compared to us. But we will be competitive."

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