Harrif raising his arms in celebration after he ended Malaysia's gold medal drought in road cycling through the criterium event at Marina Bay South.
SINGAPORE: Not even food poisoning could stop cyclist Harrif Saleh from ending Malaysia’s 10-year gold drought in the SEA Games road racing competition.
The 27-year-old won the men's criterium event at Marina Bay South.
He was still suffering from food poisoning in the morning, but once the adrenaline started pumping, he focused on the race and kept pace with the pack. With 200 metres to go, he made a frantic dash to the finish line.
Harrif had his Terengganu Cycling Team colleagues Adiq Husainie Othman, Anuar Manan, Mohd Zamri Saleh, Mohd Saiful Anuar Aziz and Fauzan Ahmad Lufti to thank for playing their role over the 10-lap race.
Harrif was just ahead of Le Van Duan of Vietnam to become the first Malaysian to win a gold medal in a road race since Suhardi Hassan and Noor Azian Alias made a sweep of the men's and women's massed start titles in Manila in 2005.
"It's not me alone who won this race. It's for my brothers as well. Without them, I would not be able to win this event. We worked together to make sure whoever had a clear path could sprint to the finish line.
"I am happy my team-mates did not break up," said Harrif, whose win was his first in the road racing discipline at SEA Games.
He won gold medals in track at two previous Games. He was part of the winning team pursuit combination in Korat in 2007.
Harrif also bagged a double in scratch race and team pursuit at the Indonesia SEA Games in 2011.
Jupha Somnet rode to an impressive bronze finish for Malaysia in the women's criterium race.
It is something the Melbourne-based rider can be proud of as she gets to share the podium with race winner Jutatip Maneephan of Thailand and second-placed Nguyen Thi That of Vietnam. Jutatip and Thi That won gold and silver in the massed start event at the Incheon Asian Games last September.
The Star Online