Monday, December 14, 2009

Cyclist hits out after being dumped from road race

AFTER giving up a full-time job to train on his own, road cyclist Loh Sea Keong arrived in Vientiane eyeing a shot at SEA Games glory. But he has ended up as a tourist in­­stead.

Sea Keong was only in­­formed on Saturday evening that he would not start in the men’s road race scheduled for today.

“They flicked me at the last minute. They had a meeting just one day before the start of competitions today and then informed me that I will not be on the start list for the road race,” he said yesterday.

“They took Mohd Razif Salleh, who was supposed to do the road time trial, to replace me.”

And the cruel decision not to inform him earlier has left much bitterness in him.

“They had already planned not to include me and could have told me about it so that I don’t have to waste my time and effort to come all the way here,”said Sea Keong, who had trained on his own in Kelantan.

“I heard some rumours that I will not get to compete in the road race. And I was in two minds about coming to Laos. But I won a selection race in October in which they said that the top two riders would get in automatically.

“I had already quit my job back home to train full-time on my own expenses without any salary or support from anyone. And I did not want to waste the effort that I have put in by not coming here.”

Sea Keong, who was dropped from the national team programme six months ago, added that he could not understand the rationale for dropping him from the race.

“They said that I did not have good results for the past six months but what about the rider who replaced me. Did he have any good results for the past six months? I’m even curious whether he has any good results for the last five years.

“And then, why did they bother to have the selection race in the first place.”

Sea Keong said that he would be most surprised if Malaysia did well in the event.

“The coaches and managers don’t even care about showing us the race course for time trial or road race. They just bring the cyclists to ride on one of the highways in Vientiane. This is really bad planning,” he said in annoyance.

Malaysia finished out of the medals in the individual road time trial yesterday.

Ng Yong Li, the only Malaysian in the fray after Razif was moved to the road race, finished sixth in the men’s 40km race.

In the women’s 30km race, Mariana Mohamad and Nor Azian Alias were placed seventh and ninth respectively.

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