Malaysia's Mohd Azizulhasni Awang reacts after winning the final of the men's keirin event at the Hong Kong Velodrome. AFP

PUTRAJAYA: The world title win by Azizulhasni Awang last night is due to a new training approach adopted by the National Sports Institute (NSI) and his participation in the Podium Programme.

Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the success of Azizul, nicknamed ‘The Pocket Rocketman,’ is the greatest achievement in the history of Malaysian sports.

Azizul’s win in the 2017 Track Cycling World Championships in Hong Kong ended a 10 year wait for the diminutive rider from Terengganu.

“Several changes were done to his training. The conditioning helps him a lot in terms of speed and power as shown during the race,” he told reporters when introducing the TN50 youth ambassador at his ministry, here today.

Azizul made a strong dash to finish the keirin event ahead of Fabian Hernando Puerta Zapata of Colombia at Velodrome Park in Hong Kong.

For becoming the first Malaysian rider to win the gold medal at the world track championships, Azizul won the rainbow jersey which can be worn during races throughout the year.

Meanwhile, Khairy said he was studying the NSI application to buy a Wind Tunnel which can help Azizul and other riders to win the gold medal in the Olympic Games.

“The Wind Tunnel is not only for track cycling but also several other sports involving tracks and aerodynamics. A decision will be made soon,” he said, adding the high price means it requires proper research. Regarding a proposal to name the National Velodrome in Nilai after Azizul, Khairy said the government usually does not name sports facility after athletes until they have retired or died.

However, there is an exception for the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil which was named after Datuk Nicol Ann David in recognition of the achievements of the Penang lass.

“This proposal should be considered. I will discuss it with Azizul. As far as I know, Azizul is not fond of adulation until his mission is accomplished,” he added.--BERNAMA

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