Pocket Rocketwoman in disbelief after Milton race

MILTON: Track cyclist Nurul Izzah Izzati Mohd Asri is still in disbelief after clinching a ticket to the Paris Olympics.

The Pocket Rocketwoman is assured of a berth in the keirin after finishing a commendable eighth and reaching the second round of the sprint at the Nations Cup in Milton, Canada.

The 20-year-old Kedahan became the second Malaysian women's track cyclist to qualify for the Olympics after Fatehah Mustapa, who competed in the 2016 Rio edition.

Nurul said missing the Hari Raya celebrations to focus on her preparations for the Nations Cup had paid off.

"I didn't expect to go to the next round in keirin. In the sprint, I was disappointed with my timing, so I tried to do my best in keirin and I'm glad to have qualified," said the petite lass after arriving in KLIA yesterday from Milton.

"I'm really happy to be in the Olympics, I didn't expect it. When I made it to the next round, I was congratulated by other athletes... I felt proud and understood the achievement."

National coach John Beasley said the Paris Olympics will be the Pocket Rocketwoman's launching pad for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics

"She's for the 2028 LA Olympics project, she's going to the Paris Olympics to familiarise herself.

"She's on a massive upward trajectory, she has plenty to come in the future," said the Australian coach.

"She and Azizulhasni (Awang) are very similar, small stature and explosive. We gave her the experience and looked after her well and it's starting to pay off now.

"There's no expectation on Nurul in Paris at all. If we come with medals, it will be great but our target is the 2028 Olympics."

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