9th February 2012: Track cyclist Josiah Ng turned 32 last Thursday but do not be fooled by his age. Josiah is going stronger than ever in keeping his Olympic hopes alive and is hoping to keep his momentum going at the Asian Cycling Championships starting at the Cheras Velodrome today.
Josiah, who arrived on Monday from his Melbourne base, has one shot at a medal as he is only competing in the keirin.
He can expect a fierce scrap for honours not just from his own Malaysian team-mate Azizulhasni Awang but from China’s Zhang brothers – Lei and Miao – and Japan’s Kota Asai.
But Josiah, the Commonwealth Games gold medallist and Asian Games silver medallist, is determined to make it to the podium.
“Everyone’s fighting for Olympic qualifying points and this year’s Asian championships are important, hence my presence here.
“China’s sprinters are the favourites as they did very well at their own World Cup last month. They are the dominant force in Asia and should win the team sprint event.
“As for the individual sprint and keirin, we have a chance but we have to work hard to beat them.
“The Asian championships are just one part of our preparations for the Olympics and I’ll be happy if I can get a medal,” said Josiah, who finished with silver in the keirin at the Asian meet in Korat last year.
Josiah has been doing well on the international stage despite his age. He made the keirin final in the opening World Cup leg in Kazakhstan and was placed seventh in the following round in Cali, Colombia, last year.
Josiah skipped the Beijing event last month but will be going to London immediately after the Asian meet to compete in the final round from Feb 17-19.
Returning to Malaysia to race again this week also brought back good memories to Josiah, who made the keirin final in the Athens Olympics in 2004.
The last time he raced on home turf was when Malaysia hosted the SEA Games in 2001.
Josiah, who was then the youngest in the national squad, claimed the gold in the sprint and 1km time trial then.
“I’m now the oldest by far. It’s been more than 10 years since I raced here but I’m looking forward to it.
“I love the excitement and I’m going stronger than I was in my twenties.
“I’m smarter and I still have the burning desire to win. This is what keeps me going,” said Josiah.
The men’s team sprint event will be decided today but Malaysia are not expected to be in the hunt for a medal with Edrus Yunus combining with back-up sprinters Mohd Fakhruddin Daud and Fattah Amri Zaid.
A brief opening ceremony was held yesterday with Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek gracing the event.
Malaysia are hosting the Asian meet for the fifth time after 1963, 1979, 1993 and 2006.
A total of 217 cyclists from 18 countries are competing in the track competitions which end on Sunday.
Content - Malaysian Star