Azizulhasni, Izzah ease to double victories in the President's Cup series

NILAI: Paris Olympics-bound track cyclists Azizulhasni Awang and Izzah Izzati Asri powered to straightforward victories at the President's Cup series here today.

The duo dominated both the men's and women's individual sprint and keirin events on the opening day of the two-day series at the National Velodrome.

Azizulhasni defeated national teammate Ridwan Sahrom in the individual sprint final and later held-off national teammate Ahmad Safwan Ahmad Nazeri and Indonesian Dika Alif Dhentaka, who came in second and third, to win the keirin.

Izzah was in a different class in the women's events, often making her opponents look pedestrian as she moved through the rounds.

She beat national teammate Aliana Azizan in the individual sprint final. Indonesia's Ratu Afifah Nur Indah and Yong Ann Yii, settled for second and third behind Izzah in the keirin.

Azizulhasni, 36, said it was a good opportunity to test himself ahead of next week's Japan Track Cup series.

"I am just competing here for some practise because we will be leaving for Japan on Monday for another two tournaments there," said Azizulhasni.

"Today was just about testing myself. I managed a decent 9.8 seconds over 200 metres, which I am satisfied with considering that I was not using my full racing equipment and am still a little fatigued from travelling.

"I decided to go with a bigger gear today to help build up some strength in my legs. I also tested myself in some tougher positions during the races today."

Azizulhasni's teammate Shah Firdaus suffered a crash in the individual sprint quarterfinals though both he, and his bike, escaped with light scratches.

Izzah, who will be making her Olympic debut in Paris, said she left no room for drama.

"I never underestimate my opponents and always try to push myself, I never want to feel too comfortable or underestimate anyone so I always go full gas when I race," said Izzah.

"I am quite happy with my performance though there is still room for improvement, I am always trying to get better, especially in terms of techniques and tactics."

In the endurance events, Abdul Azim Aliyas did Malaysia proud by winning the men's 15km scratch race.

Terengganu Cycling Team's (TSG) Harrif Saleh also did well to win bronze in the men's elimination race.

Azizulhasni will not compete in the second day of the President's Cup tomorrow as he has other commitments.

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