PHNOM PENH: National cyclist Nur Amirull Fakhruddin Mazuki powered his way to the gold medal in the men’s elite mass start event in the 2023 SEA Games in Angkor Wat, Siem Reap today.
His victory in the 150.6km race in a photo finish in Siem Reap, which is about 320km from here, is meaningful because it allowed the Malaysian road racing team to defend the gold medal they won at the previous edition in Hanoi, Vietnam last year.
The victory also enabled the Terengganu Cycling Team (TSG) continental rider to add to his medal collection after bagging silver in the men’s elite Criterium race yesterday.
In today’s race, Nur Amirull stayed comfortably ahead of Indonesian Aiman Cahyadi, the silver medallist, to cross the finish line in 3:22:50s.
Filipino ace Ronald Oranza finished third to add a second bronze to his medal collection after finishing third in the criterium event. All three riders recorded the same time.
Nur Amirull was grateful for his victory because he had prayed hard during the Ramadan month for the national team to achieve success at the biennial Games.
“Throughout the Ramadan month, I prayed a lot. I asked that the Malaysian team be successful. It doesn’t matter who wins as long as the result favours Malaysia.
“Alhamdulillah, Allah SWT answered my prayer. Thank you to everyone, especially my teammates and the management here,” he said.
The race is considered the fastest in the history of the mass start event in the SEA Games, with an average speed of 44.55kmph.
National coach Sayuti Zahit was full of praise for his rider, who did what he was told.
“I instructed Nur Amirull to control Terry (Yudha Kusuma). Terry is very dangerous and can produce sudden sprints. When Terry looked a little tired, I told Nur Amirull to edge ahead.
“Nur Amirull understood my instruction and we are grateful for the gold medal he won today,” he said.
Meanwhile, national team manager Norazman Abu Samah admitted to not being surprised by Nur Amirull’s victory as he had complete faith in all the Malaysian riders at this year’s biennial Games.