Azizulhasni and Shah Firdaus exit Tokyo Olympics sprint event, focus now on Saturday’s keirin

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Datuk Azizulhasni Awang during the men’s sprint qualifying during at the Izu Velodrome in Shizuoka, Japan, August 4, 2021. ― Shutaro Mochizuki/AFLO pic via Reuters
Datuk Azizulhasni Awang during the men’s sprint qualifying during at the Izu Velodrome in Shizuoka, Japan, August 4, 2021. ― Shutaro Mochizuki/AFLO pic via Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 5 ― Malaysia’s cycling ace Datuk Azizulhasni Awang and Mohd Shah Firdaus Sahrom did not manage to advance in the men’s sprint cycling event at the Tokyo Olympics today.

Both Azizulhasni and Shah were up against the Dutch sprint world champion Harrie Lavreysen and his compatriot Jeffrey Hoogland in the first round of their round of 16 matchups and came up short of a win.

They moved into the repechage rounds where both Malaysian riders lost as well.

Azizul was grouped with defending champion Jason Kenny from Great Britain and Japanese star Yuta Wakimoto. He finished second.

Shah was grouped with Frenchman Sebastien Vigier and New Zealand’s Sam Webster. He finished third.

The sprint category was never the Malaysians’ focus; they previously said their aim was to use the event as a warm-up for their favourite event, keirin.

The keirin event begins this Saturday August 7 from 2.30pm onwards local time.

Azizulhasni who is the 2017 keirin world champion, will begin his quest to better his Olympic bronze at the previous Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil while this is Shah Firdaus’ first Olympics.

In that final, Azizulhasni came up against Jason and another Dutchman Matthijs Buchli in a drama filled event.

The eight lap race had to be restarted twice after judges deemed technical infringement by the riders and in the third start, Azizulhasni barely crossed the line before world champion Joachim Eilers from Germany to finish third and bag the bronze in his third attempt.

Jason won that event while Matthijs bagged the silver.

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