Pocket Rocketman Datuk Mohd Azizulhasni Awang took home a silver medal for Malaysia in the men’s keirin event at the Izu Velodrom in Shizuoka, Japan.
The 33-year-old former world champion finished second ahead of Harrie Lavreysen of the Netherlands. Great Britain’s Olympic specialist Jason Kenny won the race by a mere 0.763 seconds.
After the electric pace bike pulled off the track with three of the six laps remaining, he put the hammer down and surprised his rivals with an audacious attack.
Kenny sprinted out far and kept the pace going till the finish line.
Malaysia’s second medal in Tokyo was still after men’s badminton doubles pair Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik won bronze.
Tough fight to the final.
Azizulhasni was given a tough fight in the last heat by the other five riders. But once the bell rang, Azizulhasni put the pedal to the metal and powered his way to the finish line.
Azizulhasni previously bagged a bronze in the keirin at the 2016 Rio Games.
Background on Datuk Azizulhasni
Azizulhasni was born in Dungun, Terengganu, Malaysia. He is the eighth of nine children in his family.
Azizulhasni started cycling at ten years old. The Godfather of Sports Cycling, the late Rozimi Omar, discovered him and nurtured his talents. Unfortunately, Rozimi Omar passed away in 2015 just before Azizulhasni could take the Bronze in Rio the following year.
Azizulhasni earned the nickname “Pocket Rocketman” due to his small stature. Most keirin cyclists are much taller. Azizulhasni has not allowed his height to prevent him from earning respect on and off the track.
He is the first and the only Malaysian cyclist to win a medal at the Summer Olympics.
In 2015, he became the first non-Australian athlete to receive a Blue Award from Victoria University.
Azizul married Athiah Ilyana Abd Samat on 30 January 2010. The couple lives in Melbourne with their two daughters.