KUALA LUMPUR: Azizulhasni Awang remained on track to clinching his fifth career gold medal in the individual sprint at the Asian Track Cycling Championships after easing to the final in the discipline at the Jakarta International Velodrome today.
The 31-year-old, who is better known for his prowess in the keirin, opened the day with a 10.194 second effort for 10th in qualifying.
He then dispatched Kazakhstan's Pavel Vorzhev in the round-of-16 followed by China's Zhou Yu in the quarterfinals.
Azizulhasni unfortunately met fellow national teammate Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom in the semi-finals. He won the first (11.555s) and second (11.114s) race against Shah.
The 31-year-old will face China's Xu Chao, who defeated Kazunari Watanabe of Japan in his semifinal, in the gold medal decider later today.
Azizulhasni settled for silver in the discipline last year after losing to Kazunari in the final. The Terengganu-born won the sprint gold at the 2017, 2014, 2009 and 2008 editions of the Asian Championships.
Shah Firdaus will also face off with Kazunari in the bronze decider later today.
The national juniors will at least bring home a bronze in the individual sprint. Both Malaysia riders lost to their India opponents in the semi-finals. Muhammad Ridwan Sahrom lost to Esow Esow while Mohammad Fariz Haikal Mohd Kadir went down to Ronaldo Singh Laitonjam.
The women’s elite and junior keirin events will be held tomorrow.
National para cyclists capped their campaign in Jakarta with another four gold medals today.
Afiq Afify Rizan-Khairil Adha Rasol (pilot) and Nur Azlia Syafinaz Mohd Zais-Nurul Suhada Zainal (pilot) emerged victorious in the men's and women's 1km (B) time trial after clocking 1:04.359s and 1:16.178s respectively.
Mohd Yusof Hafizi Shaharuddin, Adi Raimie Amizazahan and Zuhairie Ahmad Tarmizi had earlier impressed as they won the mixed team sprint in a new Asian mark of 53.07s.
Zuhairie also won the men's 1km (C4-C5) time trial after clocking 1:09.498s. National para riders won seven gold in total in Jakarta.