Time for Shah and Fadhil to shine, says injured Azizulhasni

KUALA LUMPUR: Azizulhasni Awang believes it is time for his juniors, Shah Firdaus Sahrom and Fadhil Zonis, to step up and make it count when it matters at next week's Hangzhou Asian Games.

Azizulhasni confirmed today that he has withdrawn from the Asian Games due to the injuries he sustained during a high-speed training crash in Nilai last week.

The 35-year-old's spot in the keirin will be taken by Fadhil, 25, who will compete alongside Shah, 27, in the event.

The latter has long been seen as Azizulhasni's heir apparent in the keirin and individual sprint events.

"It is time for Shah to shine. He is very talented and has incredible fighting sprit as we all saw at the Asian Championships (Nilai, June)," said Azizulhasni during a press conference in Bukit Jalil today.

"He was quite sad that I am withdrawing and wanted me to go with the team. I told him that it is time for him to show his true ability (in Azizulhasni's absence).

"Shah is at about the same level as me but perhaps it is just the mental strength (which is lacking). It is time for him to learn and adapt to high pressure situations.

"The same goes for Fadhil who is also very talented and is the strongest (among Malaysian riders) in the gym. The only thing is that he has self-doubt and his self believe is not at the highest level yet.

"Hopefully his participation (in keirin) will force him to show his true ability.

"I told him it is time for him to take responsibility (and carry hopes of the nation). It is not easy being under pressure, but if not now then when?

"It is a good opportunity for everyone."

Azizulhasni's spot in the individual sprint will be taken by youngster Ridwan Sahrom.

Fadhil, Ridhwan and Umar Hasbullah will also be competing in the team sprint event in which they are targeting a bronze.

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