Yusof tops ACC para event, Azizulhasni opts not to defend titles

KUALA LUMPUR: Cyclist Yusof Hafizi Shaharuddin continued his fine form by anchoring the mixed para sprint team to the gold medal on the opening day of the Asian Cycling Championships (ACC) in New Delhi, India on Wednesday.

Alongside Hafiz Jamali and Zuhairie Ahmad Tarmizi, they clocked 52.284s, securing the title at Indira Gandhi Velodrome by edging India (1:02.661) in the final.

Last month, Yusof made history at the Para Cycling World Cup in Adelaide, winning the men's C1 road time trial event.

The gold at the ACC will brighten their chances of qualifying for the Paris Paralympics.

Meanwhile, former world champion Azizulhasni Awang has decided not to defend his sprint and keirin titles, leaving Shah Firdaus Sahrom to carry Malaysia's hopes in New Delhi.

Fadhil Zonis is also there to defend his men's 1km time trial title, while Nurul Izzah Izzati Asri is a medal hopeful in the women's keirin and 500m time trial.

Track coach John Beasley said Azizulhasni will return to action at the Australian National Championships next week.

"I'm not prepared to take a risk with Azizulhasni.

"We were in New Delhi two years ago for the ACC and many cyclists had Covid-19.

"Both the ACC and the Australian Championships are high quality events, so I am trying to minimise risks for Azizul on his way to Paris."

"At his age, it is not easy to get back to full fitness and physical shape after an injury or illness."

The 36-year-old Azizulhasni is a two-time Olympic medallist.

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