Sunday January 6, 2013
Quiet birthday do for Azizul as visa snag delays return to Melbourne
By LIM TEIK HUAT
PETALING JAYA: National cyclist Azizulhasni Awang enjoyed a quiet 25th birthday do yesterday as his plan to return to Melbourne for training hangs in the balance.
The London Olympic finalist in keirin has yet to receive his student visa and has had to hold off his return to the national cycling team base in Melbourne, under coach John Beasley, since last month.
It will be a relatively slow year for Azizul as he will not be competing in the World Track Championships in Belarus next month after failing to gain qualification points in the World Cup legs.
Qualification is through the three World Cup legs for the 2012-2013 season in Cali, Colombia, (October); Glasgow (November); and Aguascalientes, Mexico (January). Azizul did not compete in any of the three legs.
Azizul also did not earn direct entry through the Asian Cycling Championships as that honour went to Josiah Ng, who won the keirin final in last year’s edition held in Kuala Lumpur in February.
And Azizul may give the Asian Cycling Championships in India in March a miss as well if he’s not in the best shape.
Azizul has two World Championships silver medals and also won the keirin and sprint titles at the Asian Cycling Championships previously.
“That (the Asian Cycling Championships in India) depends on coach John ... if he feels I am still not ready for competition,” said Azizul.
“I was supposed to go back to Melbourne last month but I could not get my visa sorted out. “I have no choice but to wait. It’s okay if I have to wait until the later part of the year for the track season to start again as I’ll have more time to prepare.
“The Olympic qualification period is only due to start from 2014 and I’ll probably compete in selected Grand Prix races.
“For now, I’m just training on the road in Ipoh.”
Azizul chose to spend his birthday with his wife Athiah Ilyana Abdul Samad and their three-month old baby girl, Amna Maryam.
“This is the first time I am celebrating my birthday as a father. We cooked and ate together at home,” he said.