National cyclist Azizulhasni Awang will be banking on both these elements in the men’s keirin at the Olympics today.
The Pocket Rocket failed to impress in the men’s sprint event, which ended yesterday, and had to settle for eighth spot.
And the 25-year-old, who has been inducted into the Team Visa Olympic Games Athlete project, is now rallying the nation’s support.
Azizul said he would go all out knowing that the whole nation was behind him in his final event.
“You train all your life for a chance of an Olympic gold. The programme, discipline, diet and your mentality play a part in your final performance, but there is another factor – public support. People shouldn’t underestimate the added lift that their support provides. Knowing that the country is behind me, urging me on, inspires me to do better, to push harder and to dig deeper,” said Azizul.
“It’s a lonely road to travel to achieve your dream: a road littered with physical and mental highs and lows. So it’s good to know that Malaysians are there behind me and that there are people who care. It makes the journey worthwhile.”
Azizul already has a large following - largely due to his exploits in the world of cycling over the last four years - especially after his remarkable show of spirit during the Track World Cup in Manchester last year.
He was involved in a high speed crash that resulted in a 20cm splinter spearing his calf, but the Dungun boy picked up his bike and wobbled his way to finish third to maintain his overall lead in the World Cup.
Meanwhile, Britain’s Jason Kenny overcame France’s Gregory Bauge to win the sprint gold medal yesterday.
The Briton won 2-0 in front of a roaring home crowd, while Australia’s Shane Perkins claimed the bronze.
Kenny took the first leg with a turbo-charged surge in the home straight that took him past the Frenchman, who knew he was beaten the minute his opponent edged his front wheel into the lead.
In the second, he stayed in front of the triple world sprint champion Bauge, who he had never before beaten on the track, and powered over the line to claim the adulation of a raucous home crowd.
Tuesday August 7, 2012 - THE STAR