Size appears to be of little consequence for national cyclist Azizul Awang, concealing the fact that he is quite a powerhouse. They don’t call him “Azizul the pocket rocket” for nothing, just take a look at his track record: a multi-gold medalist at the Asian Track Championships in 2008; the first Malaysian to win a medal at the UCI Track Cycling Championships in 2009; the flag bearer for Malaysia at the 2008 Summer Olympics Parade of Nations in Beijing, China; and the first Malaysian to ever wear the coveted rainbow jersey after winning his first World Championship title in the keirin in 2017.
What makes track cycling special to you?
It’s all about adrenaline and speed. Adrenaline comes from the speed. Track cycling is all about speed. You go fast. Cause I’m a sprinter, and I sprint at about 70-80 kilometers per hour, on a bike that weighs from five to six kilograms, which is quite dangerous, but the enjoyment of that rush, I can’t describe that in words.
What was the greatest obstacle that you had to face?
I can say that I’m a really disciplined person when it comes to sports, not as much when it comes to discipline in life. When I was in my junior year, I went into one of the girl’s room. I got into a huge trouble and was kicked out from the Program. I had to stay outside, to be independent, as well as spending my own money. Eventually, I tried to get back up again. My shot for redemption came when I won one of the big games in KL, which is the Asian Championship, and made history by winning three gold medals and a silver. Because of that achievement, they gave me a second chance. The second chance wasn’t something that I wanted to throw away. Looking back, that was actually a monumental moment for me as a person. If it didn’t happen to me, I don’t think I’d be the person that I am today. It opened up my mind to think beyond the now.
How do you feel about being a role model and what advice do you have for young people?
I am glad I can inspire the younger generation and I hope they will follow my footsteps to try and uphold the country’s name at a global level. My advise is that in whatever you do, you should just do it. Be patient and don’t look back.