RTG: Shah Firdaus did not expect to be listed

09 Apr 2023 02:36pm
Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom(pix) after bagging the bronze medal in the men’s keirin final of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games - BERNAMA
Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom(pix) after bagging the bronze medal in the men’s keirin final of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games - BERNAMA
KUALA LUMPUR - Despite being considered as a national elite athlete, track cyclist Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom did not expect to be listed in the 'Road to Gold' (RTG) programme in Malaysia's quest to get the country's elusive first gold medal at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

Muhammad Shah Firdaus admitted that he bears a heavy responsibility to repay the trust placed in him since he is now one of the country's prospects to bring home gold in the world's biggest sports games next year.

"First of all, thank God, I did not expect to be selected, we know in that list that there is a world champion and an Olympic medallist, as for me nothing yet (in the Olympics), but it is a privilege for me as well (to be selected).

"The pressure is there but the important thing is that I am taking it positively to be selected in the RTG... meaning that I have to give 100 per cent and indeed it is my responsibility to deliver more (at the 2024 Olympic Games)," he told Bernama.

Asked about what is expected from him in the RTG programme, the 2022 Commonwealth Games men's keirin bronze medallist said discussions are still being held with his coach John Beasley before finalising what is required to help him race in Paris 2024.

Muhammad Shah Firdaus, who is currently undergoing training in Europe, said he will meet with the RTG committee after returning from competing in the third round of the Cup of Nations in Milton, Canada, early next month to get further developments regarding the offer he will enjoy in the programme.

Besides him, 2020 Olympic Games men's keirin silver medallist and former world champion Datuk Mohd Azizulhasni Awang is also among the 15 names listed in the RTG programme.

Badminton dominates the programme with 11 shuttlers listed, including world champions and 2020 Tokyo Olympics men's doubles bronze medallists Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, national professional men's champion Lee Zii Jia and women's doubles Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah.

Also selected are three professional doubles pairs, two from the mixed doubles camp namely Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing and Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie and the men's doubles pair of Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi while two divers- Datuk Pandelela Rinong and Nur Dhabitah Sabri - complete the list of athletes in the RTG programme.
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Meanwhile, Soon Huat, who was grateful to make the cut in the RTG programme, believed that it will definitely motivate them to qualify for the Olympic Games for the first time in France.

Soon Huat said he and Shevon can now heave a huge sigh of relief after all their effort to get assistance, especially from the Youth and Sports Ministry, had finally paid off.

"Our priority demand will be the support staff services from the National Sports Council and also National Sports Institute for the medical, physiotherapy and masseur (departments) during tournaments and training.

"While the competition will be more intense as we will be facing Olympic Games 2024 qualification which begins next month as well as back-to-back tournaments, we not only have to be in the best condition but also avoid injury,” he said.

Yew Sin, on the other hand, said he and Ee Yi will give their best to repay the faith that the RTG committee showed in them while Thinaah hoped that all processes that they need to go through in the programme will run smoothly - BERNAMA