Beasley draws parallel between Nurul Izzah and the Pocket Rocketman

KUALA LUMPUR: National women's track cycling rising star Nurul Izzah Izzati Mohd Asri has certainly stamped her mark on the start of what promises to be a remarkable journey.

This comment comes from national squad head coach John Beasley after Nurul Izzah's talent on the international stage was first showcased following her gold medal victory in the 500 metres (m) time trial event at the 2022 Asian Track Cycling (ACC) Championships in New Delhi, India.

Nurul Izzah's meteoric rise continued to captivate the audience as she improved her achievements by clinching two gold medals each in the keirin and 500m time trial events at the 2024 ACC, held once again in New Delhi, in February.

Beasley described Nurul Izzah as a special athlete like national cycling ace Datuk Mohd Azizulhasni Awang, popularly known as the Pocket Rocketman, who has achieved multiple successes including becoming a world champion in 2017 and winning the silver medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics despite his small stature.

"She's (Nurul Izzah) 50 kilogrammes (kg) and has to fight alongside 85kg (athletes) who probably average, six foot... she's special and she's like Azizulhasni (small body athlete). So they are very special but we have to wait until her mid-20s for her body to mature and then she will have everything she needs.

"So between now and then it's working on the tactical side, keep developing, (we'll) help her out... so the next Olympics she'd be ready, the next two Olympics is where she gonna be in her prime," Beasley said when met recently.

The success clinched in New Delhi in February saw Nurul Izzah equalled the achievement of former national track cyclist Fatehah Mustapa who won the last women's keirin gold for Malaysia in the 2012 edition.

Hailing from Sungai Petani, Kedah, the 20-year-old athlete's journey of success seems poised to reach new heights after unofficially securing a spot at the 2024 Paris Olympics, marking her debut at the Games.

While delighted by Nurul Izzah's remarkable progress and the prospect of her participation in Paris 2024, Beasley emphasises the importance of continuous learning and unwavering focus on training sessions to ensure sustained growth and excellence.

"Just keep learning... the good thing is we got training camp before the Games (Paris 2024), so we got plenty of time… we can really sort early on the tactical side of things and that's important. Knowing what moves and when to make it," he said.

Nurul Izzah alongside Mohd Azizulhasni and Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom who also unofficially secured a spot at the 2024 Paris are scheduled to go to Europe in June for almost two months as part of their final preparations.

They will go to Belgium, the United Kingdom and Spain to undergo training and participate in several competitions there before heading for Paris 2024 scheduled from July 26 to August 11. — BERNAMA

TAGS: track cycling, John Beasley, Nurul Izzah Izzati Mohd Asri, Datuk Mohd Azizulhasni Awang

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