Coach: Bronze medal win in US boost duo’s morale for ASEAN Para Games success

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SEPANG: Securing a bronze medal in the International Cycling Union (UCI) Para-cycling Track World Championships in Los Angeles, United States recently will serve as an inspiration for national cyclists Muhammad Khairul Adha Rasol and Muhammad Afif Afify Rizan.

For Muhammad Khairul who partnered Afif in the Men’s Tandem Sprint B (visually impaired) category, the win boosted his dreams of recording positive results at the ASEAN Para Games to be held in Kuala Lumpur, in September.

“Although we had just been paired for three months, I am glad that our combined efforts have brought success and has inspired me to continue to attaining excellence,” he told reporters at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport here today after arriving from the US.

Sharing the same sentiment was Muhammad Afif who was still in disbelief over their win in the world championships.

“I am grateful that we won the bronze medal as we had never qualified to the quarterfinals of a world championship before,” he said.

Meanwhile, para-cycling head coach for the ‘We are Champions’ programme, Mohd Johari Nayan was satisfied with performance of the national pair, but acknowledged there were weaknesses that needed to be ironed out before other competitions.

Among the weaknesses clearly spotted was in the para-cycling pilot (front cyclist) compared to those from other countries.

“Previously, I had made changes to the pilot because in the tandem event, the strength of a young pilot who can compete at the highest level is much needed. At this tournament, I saw the success of teams due to the strength of their pilot.

“Thus, in our future strategy, we should train another young cyclist to become a pilot for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games,” said Mohd Johari who was also a former national road cycling head coach.

He said Muhammad Afif and Muhammad Khairul would only undergo usual training routines in preparation for the ASEAN Para Games.

“After the 2017 ASEAN Para Games, the duo will undergo a tight competition schedule,” he said.-BERNAMA

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