Our own “Pocket Rocketman”, Azizulhasni Awang, recently won Malaysia’s very first cycling medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics, but it seems like not everyone supported him during his journey to the sporting event.
In a very sarcastic “thank you” message, which was posted on the cyclist’s Facebook today (Wednesday, 17th August), he “thanked” Terengganu’s Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Razif for not aiding him and fellow cyclist Fatehah Mustapa when they needed help.
The note started off fairly normal, with the bronze medalist thanking his fellow citizens, family, coaches, teammates, the National Sports Institute, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Sime Darby Foundation, and his friends. However, things turned sarcastic when he thanked the MB.
He wrote (translated by Malaysiakini):
“To Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Razif. Fatehah and I would still like to express our thanks even though you did not agree to help us, 2 Terengganu natives, when we were competing on a global stage and at this Olympics. Thank you for not buying a ‘Road Bike’ for our use in preparation for this Olympics, even though the proposal was submitted nearly a year ago. Also, thank you for not giving us any feedback and remaining silent when my manager contacted you.
For your information, Fatehah and I are world class Olympic athletes, something which you have always overlooked. Maybe one of the factors is that we have been training overseas. We hope that Datuk MB would take this note positively and we hope that it would serve as an eye-opener to all parties who were supposed to play their roles.
No matter what happens, we are still proud to be born and raised in Terengganu.”
The message appears to be a response to Ahmad Razif’s congratulatory message earlier today. The MB was quoted as saying, “Thank you Azizulhasni, who never tires in carrying the Malaysia spirit to the world stage. Thank you also to all the coaches and their families. The Terengganu people are proud with the Pocket Rocket Man!”
UPDATE (18th August, 11:15am):
The Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin as well as Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Razif have responded to Azizulhasni Awang’s message.
Khairy “advised” the cyclist to seek clarification from the Terengganu MB’s office, and speculated that the whole situation could be a misunderstanding. He also expressed that the bronze medalist should not allow such a small matter to mar such a happy occasion. Tan Sri Mohamed Al-Amin Abdul Majid, Malaysia’s Chef-de-Mission to the Rio Olympics, shared the minister’s sentiments.
The Terengganu MB also explained that he wasn’t informed of any request by Azizulhasni and Fatehah Mustapa, but would willingly meet up with Azizulhasni to personally congratulate him as well as to talk things out.
“I am ready to meet with Azizul and listen to him with an open heart. The Terengganu government is making special preparations to celebrate his return.
Like all other athletes who have shone in the international arena, Azizul too will receive honours for making Terengganu and Malaysia proud. We are also planning to have a roadshow with Azizul across the state for him to share his experience and raise the spirit of other young athletes in Terengganu.”
The 28-year-old cyclist’s journey to the Olympics has mostly been supported by federal agencies such as the National Sports Institute and National Sports Council. It is also his 3rd attempt for a medal after failing to qualify for the finals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and placing 6th in the 2012 London Olympics.