Azizulhasni Awang shares life stories and experiences with aspiring young athletes and students

A group photo with Malaysia’s “Pocket Rocket Man” (middle) with the higher management of UiTM and the students who attended the talk. On Azizul’s right is UiTM’s Deputy Dean in Research, Industry Linkage, Community & Alumni Datin Dr. Sarimah Ismail, and on his immediate left Deputy Dean of Student Affairs Encik Khairulzaman Hamin, Head of Postgraduate Studies Dr. Mahenderan Appukutty and Deputy Dean of Academic Encik Razali Mohamed Salleh. 

Kuala Lumpur, 21 March 2016 – First his parents wanted him to be a doctor and not a sportsman. Then, his sports school coach told him he was too small to make it. Even when he first competed internationally, he drew curious stares for being the odd one out in a sport dominated by tall, physically built athletes.

None of that mattered to Yayasan Sime Darby’s (YSD) national track cyclist Mohd Azizulhasni Awang as he stayed true to his goal to be an international champion. Today, he is the current world no.3 in keirin and he recently won Bronze in the UCI Track Cycling World Championship 2016 in London.

Azizul has also qualified for keirin in the upcoming Rio Olympics 2016 this August. The two-time Olympian shared his life journey, achievements as well as his challenges in reaching his goals through a very intimate sharing session with an audience of over 200 aspiring young athletes, students and YSD scholars at the UiTM Shah Alam’s Faculty of Sport Science and Recreation recently.

“At 15 years old, I was determined to pursue cycling and left for Bukit Jalil Sports School. My parents were not too happy with my decision to become a sportsman because they wanted me to become a doctor but I was adamant with my dream of becoming a national champion in track cycling, then.

“On my first day at sports school, I was told by my (then) coach that I will never make it far due to my ‘small size’ as compared to my peers who are more physically built. I was constantly looked down upon on my figure which fuelled me to prove that my size is not a limitation and I sacrificed most of my younger days to train and work hard just so I could prove these people wrong.”

“And it paid off as the world begin to acknowledge me through my achievements in the World Championships and my first ever participation in the Beijing Olympics 2008 in China where I was Malaysia’s flag-bearer at a young age of 20. Though I did not win the race, it was this experience that propelled me to aim for more Olympic participation and put Malaysia on the world map!”

The 5’5” Pocket Rocket Man is also a recipient of the prestigious YSD STAR Scholarship programme for his degree in Exercise Science and Human Movement at Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia. Last November, he was honoured with a Full Blue Award for his sporting achievements from the leading sports science university making him the first non-Australian to be given such a recognition.

Azizul, who hails from Dungun, Terengganu, also recounted his horrific accident in 2011 at the UCI World Cup in Manchester, where four riders including himself crashed with one another in the final round of the race leaving him with a 9-inch splinter pierced through his left calf. But adrenaline made him remount his bike and finish third place with a Bronze.

He ended his sharing session with a reminder to the young hopefuls to, “Pursue your passion at 110% because you won’t regret going after what you really want in life. You must remember to manage your time and resources properly. To be great, one must be ready to make sacrifices. It can get lonely at times, but the fruit is sweet. Don’t lose sight of your goals.”

YSD, the philanthropic arm of Sime Darby Berhad, extended its support to Mohd Azizulhasni Awang and Fatehah Mustapa under the “Road to Rio 2016: Sime Darby Foundation Track Cycling Team” as a mission to realise the nation’s dream of bringing home an Olympic medal for track cycling. The sponsorship of RM2.85 million from February 2013 to August 2016 covers the yearly registration fee to ‘Union Cycliste Internationale’ (UCI) and entrance fees for international competitions, flight tickets, travelling expenses, racing attire, players salaries and living expenses.

In 2010, YSD funded the “YSD Track Cycling Team-Quest for Malaysia’s Olympic Cycling Medal” programme with a sponsorship of RM2 million over three years. Out of the seven riders sponsored by YSD, Azizul and Fatehah were the only ones who qualified for the London Olympics 2012, with Azizul making it to the final round of the Keirin event.

Youth & Sports, one of the pillars under YSD’s philanthropic initiatives supports programmes that promote the all-round development of youths to enable them to become trustworthy, conscientious and productive members of society. To this end, YSD makes available the resources at its disposal to promote sporting activities to help youths realise their full potentials; develop sports; cultivate sportsmanship within the community and raise the standards of sports.

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Last Updated:
28 Nov 2017
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