National track cyclist Azizulhasni Awang aka the “Pocket Rocketman” cinched a bronze Olympic medal for Malaysia after finishing 3rd in the Rio 2016 keirin final early this morning (Wednesday, 17th August).
The 28-year-old finished 6th at the London 2012 games and originally targeted to deliver gold, but has now earned a podium finish in his 3rd Olympic appearance. Britain’s Jason Kenny won gold while the silver went to the Neitherland’s Matthijs Buchli.
— BERNAMA (@bernamadotcom) August 17, 2016
NST quoted Azizulhasni, the only Asian cyclist to make it past the first round stage, as saying, “I thought I had won the silver but when it was shown that I won bronze, I wasn’t disappointed. I gave it my best and I dedicate the bronze to all Malaysians. They have supported me since I was young and I hope I have repaid their faith in me.”
“What I want to do now is return to Malaysia and spend some time with my family It has been a tiring experience but one that has been worth it,” he added.
— Khairy Jamaluddin ??? (@Khairykj) August 16, 2016
It was a nerve-wracking keirin final as it had to be restarted twice after issues with the positioning of the riders and the electric bike that sets the pace in the early laps.
The first stop was to review Azizulhasni and Jason Kenny for a technical infringement, which ultimately was ruled against. The race was restarted, only to be stopped again as the officials reviewed another supposed infringement. It was again ruled against and the race was finally allowed to proceed. Azizul then rode a brave race to come in 3rd.
Azizul’s victory marks Malaysia’s first Olympic cycling medal ever. Thank you, “Pocket Rocketman” for bringing it home!