I could have made final and won gold if semis result not overturned – Shah Firdaus
HANGZHOU - National track cyclist Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom believes he could have challenged for the men’s sprint gold medal if only his victory in the first semi-final heat against China's Zhou Yu was not overturned due to an infraction.
The 27-year-old Muhammad Shah Firdaus won the first semi-final heat, but the commissaire overturned the result after he entered the opponent’s lane during the final lap at the Chun'an Jieshou Sports Centre Velodrome, today.
In the second semi-final heat, the Malaysian blundered when he allowed Zhou Yu to take the lead and thunder away to the finish line and book a spot in the final.
"I am a bit sad, my legs were really good, but I got ’relegated’ after winning the first heat. I don’t know what the reason is, they said there was a little bit of body contact.
"But I think that’s normal, you can see that the track is a little bit difficult to handle. Everyone does the same thing, but there’s nothing we can do... I could have gone for gold, (and) I could have easily won it,” he said in the post-race interview.
Muhammad Shah Firdaus, who won silver in the team sprint in the 2018 edition in Jakarta-Palembang, Indonesia, said he decided not to go all out to chase Zhou Yu in the second semi-final heat as he wanted to conserve energy for the bronze medal decider.
In the bronze medal decider, the Malaysian clinched his maiden individual medal in the Asian Games when he defeated China's Chenxi Xue 2-0.
Japan’s Kaiya Ota bagged gold after edging Zhou Yu in the final following the absence of reigning Asian Championships and 2018 Asian Games gold medallist Datuk Mohd Azizulhasni Awang, who withdrew due to injuries sustained during training sessions recently.
Meanwhile, national team manager Mohd Izham Mohamad admitted that Muhammad Shah Firdaus had accidentally entered Zhou Yu’s lane in the final lap.
"The track here is quite tricky. Shah (Firdaus) accidentally went into the Chinese rider's lane as it's quite difficult to control your bicycle when travelling at high speed. According to the rules, we cannot enter our opponents’ lanes once the sprint has begun... otherwise, we stood a very good chance of making the final,” he said.
Muhammad Shah Firdaus and Muhammad Fadhil Mohd Zonis will compete in the men’s keirin event tomorrow. - BERNAMA