Thursday February 7, 2013
Beasley: Iím not dropping the old warhorse just yet
By LIM TEIK HUAT
PETALING JAYA: Josiah Ng will be the lone Malaysian cyclist at the World Track Championships in Belarus later this month Ė but itís not beyond him to rise to the occasion at the Minsk Arena.
Although Josiah has always been beset with misfortune when it comes to the world meet, coach John Beasley is counting on the seasoned rider to get his act right this time.
Josiah, a finalist at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, celebrated his 33rd birthday last Saturday but his passion for the sport remains as strong as ever.
And his dedication to the sport has impressed Beasley the most.
ďHeís still grinding it out with the younger boys. He knows that he canít afford to slacken when it comes to training and commitment as someone could nick his place in the squad.
ďHe needs longer recovery period between training sessions but thatís fine.
ďJosiah did not get the chance to ride at the Olympics last year and heís hungry. I am not counting out the old warhorse yet,Ē said Beasley.
Josiah qualified alongside Azizulhasni Awang for the London Olympics last year but was not entered for both the individual keirin and sprint.
Josiah will travel to Belarus as the reigning Asian keirin champion, which earned him an automatic slot at the world meet.
He will also be competing in sprint but itís in keirin that heíll take a shot at breaking his string of bad luck at previous world meets.
He was eliminated in the early rounds in Apeldoorn in 2011 and in Melbourne last year.
In the 2010 championships in Copenhagen, he cut in too fast into (Sir Chris) Hoyís path in the first round, causing both to crash. Josiah was left fuming when he was disqualified and the Briton went on to win the first-round heat to eventually take the world title.
In the 2007 edition in Madrid, Josiah dislocated his collarbone, also in the first round, and was out for three months.
Josiah, winner of the Commonwealth Games gold medal in keirin in New Delhi in 2010, will shoulder the challenge in Belarus alone as Azizul did not make the cut due to his absence from all three World Cup meets for 2011-2012.
With a number of good cyclists opting to skip the world meet this year, including reigning Olympic champion Hoy of Britain, Beasley feels that Josiah can make a breakthrough.
ďItís always like that in the year after the Olympics where we see some seniors retiring and the juniors getting their chance to shine.
ďThe field is far from weak although Hoy is not there but I feel this is the best opportunity for Josiah to prove something. Iíll be disappointed if he doesnít make the final,Ē he said.
Malaysia have won three medals at the world meet so far. Azizulhasni took silver in sprint while Rizal Tissin won bronze in the 1km time trial in Poland in 2009. Azizul repeated his feat in keirin in Copenhagen the following year.