12:37 AM on 22nd February 2011
A top cyclist who crashed as he raced behind British champion Sir Chris Hoy was skewered with a 20cm splinter – but got back on his bike to finish an amazing THIRD.
Azizulhasni Awang was in the final bend of a world title race yesterday, when four of the six riders crashed in a scene of carnage behind Sir Chris, the winner.
The 23-year-old’s calf was skewered by a shard of Siberian pine from the track, but he recovered to remount his bike and take third place, behind Sir Chris and Jason Niblett in the men’s Keirin final at the Track World Cup.
But, once over the finish line, Awang collapsed in agony before he was taken away on a stretcher.
The 23-year-old was unable to receive his bronze medal on the podium, and will have the wood from the Manchester Velodrome track removed from his leg today at the city’s Royal Infirmary.
A scan late last night assessed the injury, but doctors decided to wait until today to tackle the splinter.
Malaysia head coach John Beasley said: ‘They said it’s best if they do it with all their experts around and when everyone’s fresh.
‘The only way they can do it is by surgically going in from both ends and spreading it apart and pulling it out.’
He said he was unaware of the splinter when he helped Awang back to his bike, checking the rider’s head and state of mind, but not assessing his body for injuries.
‘I feel really bad because I didn’t even see it,” added the head coach, who believes adrenaline took Awang across the line.
‘It wasn’t until later I knew he had the splinter.’
Awang will return to his home in Melbourne next week and is due to get married in April.
Beasley added: ‘He’ll be right for the Olympics. Hopefully Sir Chris Hoy will be in second place and he’ll be on the top.’
Although rare, such injuries are not unusual in track cycling and Jason Queally, the Sydney Olympic champion, famously now rides only against the clock – rather than elbow-to-elbow races – after crashing at the Meadowbank track in Edinburgh in 1996 and being pierced by an 18-inch piece of wood.
BRAVO to our world class track cyclist Azizulhasni Awang for his heroic feat in defying all odds to get on the podium at the Kerin track race at Manchester, England (“Glum glory – The Star, Feb 21).
It takes an extraordinary champion to continue the race with a nine-inch long splinter in his left calf. Azizul managed to continue his race despite the pain and agony to complete the race for a bronze medal.
Congratulations, Azizulhasni for your heroic feat. What a true champion you are.
Azizulhasni had rushed to Manchester for the final leg of the World Cup after competing at the Asian Cycling Championship in Korat, Thailand.
He emerged overall champion with 28 points after four legs held in Melbourne, California and Beijing, pushing Triple Olympic champion Chris Hoy of Britain into second place and Simon Van Velthooven of New Zealand into third. He is a real role model for possessing the warrior mentality of Malaysia Boleh.
Azizulhasni has won the World Cup Kerin crown three times consecutively. It speaks highly of a consistent champion who also won a gold medal in the Guangzhou Asian Games that ended a 40-year drought for cycling.
He is a rare breed of a champion who epitomises the saying of Brian Tracy: “The greatest human quality is that of becoming unstoppable! And you become unstoppable by refusing to quit, no matter what happens to you in a race.”
I urge the Youth and Sports Ministry to record and document the great moments of our own sportsmen and sportswomen, their success stories and their struggle to become world beaters.
Success stories are what motivate and inspire our young, be it in studies or sports. Notable sports personalities who stand heads and shoulders above are Azizulhasni, Datuk Lee Chong Wei and Datuk Nicol David. They are worthy role models.
Azizulhasni Awang was born on January 5th, 1988 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azizulhasni_Awang
January 5th, 1988
1 + 5 +1+9+8+8 = 32 = his life lesson = what he is here to learn = Winning. Victory. Champion. Top 10. Olympics.