LONDON: “It’s as good as the gold medal!”
That was the reaction of national track cyclist Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom after bagging the bronze medal in the men’s keirin final of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at the Lee Valley VeloPark here today.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Nicholas Paul powered his way to the gold medal while Jack Carlin of Scotland took home the silver.
Having faltered so many times at the finals of various championships and multi-sports Games previously, the 26-year-old Shah Firdaus admitted that he is extremely thrilled to finally get his first medal at the quadriennial Games.
He also dedicated the bronze medal to his father, Sahrom Osman, who will be celebrating his birthday on Aug 10.
“I came back here with one aim: to bounce back from the early exit I suffered in the keirin heats at the 2018 edition in Gold Coast, Australia.
“However, I am a little disappointed that I did not win the gold because it’s been a long time since Malaysia last won this event,” he told Bernama today.
The last time Malaysia won the Commonwealth Games keirin gold was through Josiah Ng in New Delhi 2010.
Shah Firdaus said the message from national track cycling ace Datuk Mohd Azizulhasni Awang also did the trick as it motivated him to carve out such an impressive achievement.
“I am a little sad that Azizulhasni is not here with me because he’s like my big brother. Whenever we compete in the keirin event, we always make sure we are not too far apart from one another.
“Azizulhasni told me that I performed solidly in the team sprint event yesterday and that I was also the second fastest in that event… (so) he told me to just follow my instincts and go full throttle,” he said.
Mohd Azizulhasni pulled out from the Games as he is still undergoing rehabilitation following open-heart surgery in April.
Commenting on his performance today, Shah Firdaus, who came out tops in the first two rounds, said he could not repeat that feat in the final because the cyclists were all bunched together, making it difficult for him to break away.
Shah Firdaus, who will get back on the saddle for the sprint event tomorrow, admitted that it would be another difficult task but that it won’t stop him from gunning for a place in the final. – BERNAMA