Saturday October 6, 2012
Winning Visa grand prize takes Leonard down memory lane
KUALA LUMPUR: Winning a cool RM10,000 road bike, specially autographed by superstar Azizulhasni Awang, has taken former cyclist Leonard Khong Kah Yu on a trip back to the past.
Decades ago, the 63-year-old Leonard used to ride a road bike worth only RM100 as a Selangor state cyclist.
“I used to train with Ng Joo Pong in 1965. I remember riding a Japanese bike – Fuji Feather. It was the lightest then. It cost about RM100. The frame was so weak that it could easily snap,” he recalled. “I was training at the Merdeka Stadium. The flooring was tarmac and you will have severe bruises if you fall.
“Now, at this age, I get a RM10,000 bike. This is not an ordinary bike as it comes with Azizul’s signature and was handed to me personally by him. It will be a family heritage. I even plan to ride it.”
Leonard did not make the national team then but he hopes that Malaysia will revive the cycling scene at the grassroots level – “like it was during my time”.
“There were strong inter-school competitions then. People will just use any type of bicycles to have a spin at the run-down tracks. It was fun and a good way to keep the sporting spirit alive. Now, I see children busy with their handphones and computers. It is sad,” said the motor and road transport engineer.
Leonard, who is also the founder of a motor racing magazine and a media relations consultant, is the grand prize winner of the Visa Olympic Games “Spend-and-Win” competition. Besides the expensive bike, he also received a 55-inch Panasonic 3D Full HD television set, which was presented by Visa’s ambassador Azizul at a simple ceremony yesterday.
Said Azizul: “It is amazing that the grand prize winner of this competition is also an ardent cyclist. Cycling has a rich history in our country and I hope more people will be involved in it.”
Besides Leonard, two others – Karen Lam Bick Yee and Chan Wai Ching – also won bikes authographed by Azizul. A total of 20 other special prize winners went home with a Samsung Galaxy S Advance phones.