Cyclist Mohd Harrif Saleh (centre) celebrates with his Malaysian team-mates after winning the Criterium race at the Singapore SEA Games last Friday. - S.S.KANESAN/ The STAR
SINGAPORE: Malaysia can expect a rich harvest in cycling when the SEA Games return to Kuala Lumpur in 2017.
Asean Cycling Congress (ACC) member countries are backing a proposal to bring back the full cycling programme, comprising road, track, mountain bike and BMX to the next SEA Games.
“Thailand brought up the proposal. Vietnam and Indonesia supported it,” said ACC president Datuk Abu Samah Wahab after their meeting in Singapore on Sunday.
Thailand were unhappy that the organisers of the Singapore SEA Games only had road cycling in the programme this time.
“Myanmar hosted the Games in 2013 and they had mountain bike and BMX in the programme,” he said.
“We will recommend to the 2017 SEA Games organising committee to have the full programme for cycling in Malaysia.”
If the proposal is accepted, cycling could see up to 23 gold medals up for grabs.
“Track can expect to have nine or 10 gold medals, seven for road and three each for mountain bike and BMW,” said Abu Samah, who is also president of the Malaysia National Cycling Federation.
He added that the Nilai Velodrome should be ready by then.
“It’s a Category 1 velodrome ... I believe it’s going to be the venue for track events for 2017 SEA Games.”
Malaysia can expect to win the lion’s share of the gold medals in track cycling as the back-up riders under Junaidi Nasir for the Tokyo 2020 programme will be primed for the task in two years time.
Malaysia bagged seven gold medals in Indonesia in 2011 – the last time track events were contested at the SEA Games.
In Singapore, Mohd Harrif Saleh took a double (men’s criterium and road race) to end a 10-year-old gold medal drought for Malaysia in road cycling.
The Star Online