Asian Games: Newcomer Umar hopes to ride through stage fright

KUALA LUMPUR: Greenhorn Umar Hasbullah admitted he is feeling anxious ahead of his Asian Games debut.

The 20-year-old will be the first Malaysian rider, ahead of Ridwan Sahrom and Fadhil Zonis, to race at the Chun'an Jieshou Sports Centre Velodrome from Sept 26-29.

The trio won a bronze in the team sprint at the Asian Cycling Championships (ACC) in Nilai in June as Japan took gold and China, silver.

The Malaysians also ranked as Asia's third-best after coming in behind Japan and China at the World Championships last month in Berlin. Japan finished fourth and China eighth in the world meet.

"I'm the first rider, so I need to set the pace for my teammates," said the Melaka cyclist.

"I'm a bit nervous about the Asian Games but we had competed against the cyclists from Asia in the ACC recently, and we have a good chance to win a medal.

"We have improved by a second in training compared to the time that we did in the World Championships.

"I have never competed in an international multi-games event before. I heard from my seniors that the environment is special and I want to feel the vibes of the games," he added.

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