From riding a normal bicycle around his village, using hills and dirt roads as training grounds, 33-year-old Datuk Mohd Azizulhasni Awang is now a proud Olympic silver medalist.
The father of two, nicknamed ‘The Pocket Rocketman’ has made four straight Olympic appearances since the 2008 Beijing edition.
The athlete from Dungun, Terengganu is also the first cyclist in the country to get on the Olympic podium.
Also, apart from badminton’s Datuk Lee Chong Wei, he is the only other Malaysian to have won a silver medal in the Olympics.
He was named the 2017 National Sportsman and holds a Master’s Degree in Sport Management at Deakin University, Melbourne.
Azizulhasni became a household name after winning silver in the sprint event at the 2009 World Championships in Poland, followed by a silver in the keirin event at the 2010 World Championships in Denmark and gold in the same event in the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.
A horrific injury he suffered during the final leg of the World Cup Series in Manchester, England in 2011 where his calf was skewered by a 20cm splinter did not dampen his spirits.
In the hard-fought keirin final at the Izu Velodrome in Shizuoka, reigning champion Jason Kenny from Great Britain bagged the gold to retain the title.
Azizulhasni won the silver when he beat Dutchman Harrie Lavreysen, the winner of the men’s sprint gold medal.