Asian Games: Malaysia’s sole roller skater rues strategy after exit

Mohamad Hazim Shahrum in action. (Bernama pic)

PALEMBANG: Malaysia’s sole representative in the roller skate event at the 2018 Asian Games, Mohamad Hazim Shahrum, was eliminated in the men’s 20km road race today.

The 18-year-old crashed out in the 29th lap, after being outrun by fellow contestants by a lap at the Jakabaring Sports City (JSC) Roller Skate Circuit here.

Speaking to reporters after the race, Hazim said his strategy was to attack early and make an early breakthrough from the flag (group) to gain a superior advantage towards a podium finish.

“I tried to break away, lap them and recover, but my mistake was to instinctively follow the Indian skaters (Amitesh Mishra and Harshveer Singh Shekon) when they sprinted for the second time.

“I thought they (other skaters) would not chase me, but everyone was on guard today and I was burned out.

“Everyone wanted to win because inline skating only has one race in Asian Games. To be honest, I have no regrets in this race as I gave it my everything.

“If I played the waiting game like others, probably I would have finished sixth or seventh, but I was willing to give it a shot even if there was only a 1% chance of winning a medal for the country,” said the debutant.

Chinese Taipei’s Tsu-Cheng Chao bagged the gold medal after finishing the 52-lap race on a 380-metre bitumen circuit in 33 minutes and 51.418 seconds. South Koreans Choi Gwang-ho (33:51.653s) and Son Geun-seong (33:51.967s) claimed the silver and bronze medals respectively.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Skate Federation president Idroose Tambarin said the lack of facilities was the main barrier for Malaysia to develop talent in the sport.

“This is a good start for us because the development of this sport requires international exposure. If we only practise and compete among ourselves, we may not be able to judge their true potential.

“In Malaysia, many skate as a recreational activity, but only about 200 people are involved in competitive events.

“Facilities play an important role because where do we practise if there is no special venue?”

He said the roller skaters had to train most of the time in public parks but the risk of injury is higher there.