During the competition this early morning (8 August), National cycling champion, Azizulhasni Awang has stormed into the men’s keirin final and bagged Malaysia’s first silver medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The 33 year-old former keirin world champion finished 2nd, just behind the Great Britain’s Jason Kenny, who is the defend his title as the cycling keirin champion.
The men’s keirin finals took off with an unexpected early sprint by Kenny who fought hard to stay far ahead of the 5 other competitiors.
Azizulhasni was caught by surprise by Kenny’s burst of speed and he then followed with a sprint, but was left too far behind Kenny to overtake him.
Nonetheless, it was not an easy race for Azizulhasni as Dutchman Harrie Lavreysen appeared to be his closest rival after Kenny. In the dramatic event, Azizulhasni fought hard and managed to win the silver medal for the event.
This is the 4th straight Olympic outing for Azizulhasni since the 2008 Beijing edition.
Azizulhasni, also give the nickname of The Pocket Rocketman has improved his performance since the 2016 Rio Olympics, where he earned his first Olympic medal in life and it was a bronze medal.
Giving his performance, he was among the Malaysian athletes who had been earmarked to win a gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics.
On the other hand, Kenny’s victory extended England’s domination in the men’s keirin event, having winning the gold medal in every edition since the 2008 Beijing Games.
The Melbourne-based Azizulhasni started the day with a top-two finish in the Heat Three of the quarter-finals before moving on to win the Heat Two of the semi-finals.
Although he did not managed to bag the gold medal, Azizulhasni had delivered a superb performance in the finals and he is still the most decorated national track cyclist and the only Malaysian to have won Olympic medals in keirin.
The silver medal he won is the second medal for the country at the Tokyo Olympics after the badminton duo, Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik’s bronze in men’s doubles.
Meanwhile, the defending champion of the keirin event, Jason Kenny, now has 7 Olympic gold medals and he broker the 6-gold record he shared with England track cycling legend Chris Hoy.
Kenny also helped England in winning a silver medal in the men’s team sprint alongside Ryan Owens and Jack Carlin, who clinched a bronze in the men’s sprint.
Earlier, Malaysia’s Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom missed out the semi-finals after finishing last in Heat Two of the quarter-finals following the injuries he suffered after colliding with Carlin in the competition.
He was then being rushed to the Juntendo University Shizuoka Hospital for further treatment.
Whatever the results are, Malaysians will always be proud of you for bringing us the first Olympic silver medal in Tokyo 2020. Congratulations for your achievement!
Check out the announcement here: