Unfancied Malaysian stuns cycling world champion

Matt Glaetzer, Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom (centre), and New Zealand’s Bradly Knipe compete during yesterday’s men’s keirin first round heat 2 cycling event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane. (AFP pic)

BRISBANE: Cycling sprint world champion Matt Glaetzer said he felt embarrassed after he was dumped out in the early stages at the Commonwealth Games in front of a shocked Australian crowd on Saturday.

Glaetzer was the hero on Friday when he romped to gold in the men’s keirin, but less than 24 hours later he was stunned by Malaysia’s Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom, who came a lowly 34th at the recent world championships.

Glaetzer, 25, a hot favourite for sprint gold on Australia’s Gold Coast, had qualified fastest and set a Commonwealth Games record of 9.583 seconds in the process.

But he crashed out at the 1/8 finals stage, pipped by 0.024sec to the line, and said: “That was exactly what I didn’t want to happen. I tried to get through with minimum effort.

“I just needed to get my speed going, but the speed just wasn’t there. He got the jump on me, so I’m pretty gutted.

“It’s devastating, it’ll take a little while to get over this one. To lose like that is embarrassing.”

He blamed a tactical error. “I was just coming into the bell too slow, I needed to be accelerating not just controlling.”

The 22-year-old Sahrom, who had taken the last qualifying spot at Anna Meares Velodrome, was in shock.

“It’s unbelievable because I’m fighting with a world champion and (Commonwealth) Games record holder. I just did what I can and it went to plan and I did it,” he said.

“Matthew Glaetzer is a world champion and he’s absolutely fast.

“It’s hard to beat him and I’m very honoured by what I did today.”