PRUSZKOW: AN unlucky Azizulhasni Awang will have to wait another year to recapture the keirin world title after his campaign in the discipline at the Pruszkow World Championships came to a premature end on Thursday.
The 2017 keirin world champion settled for seventh overall in the event in Poland after winning the 7th-12th place race.
Azizulhasni had earlier suffered a heavy crash at the end of his first round race, where he finished third in his heat thus missing out on the top two cut for direct entry to the quarterfinals.
Subsequently, he was forced to go through a repechage round, where he placed second. He then finished third in his quarterfinal heat.
Azizulhasni, however, just missed out on a spot in the final after placing fourth in his semi-final heat, in which he was also given a warning for dangerous riding after making brief contact with another rider during the race.
The 31-year-old said the early crash hampered his performance in the event.
“I did not have a good start, I suffered some cuts and felt the impact on the left side of my body after the crash. It also affected my head, it hurt and I also felt dizzy,” said Azizulhasni.
“It affected my performance especially my breathing as the impact was on my left ribs. I tried to put that aside as I wanted to collect as many Olympic qualifying ranking points as possible.
“Obviously I felt sad not to make the 1st-6th place final but winning the 7th-12th place final did make up for that a bit.
“I want to thank all Malaysians who have supported me. I apologise for not being able to bring back a medal in the keirin today (Thursday).
“I will try harder in the individual sprint event which starts on Saturday (tomorrow).”
Azizulhasni’s title defence at last year’s world championships was hampered by a viral infection.
Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom, the only other Malaysian competing in the keirin, finished last in his first round heat and came in third in the repechage, just behind Azizulhasni.
Shah will also compete alongside Azizulhasni in the individual sprint.