NATIONAL cycling coach Yafiz Jamaludin yesterday praised Myanmar's preparation for December's Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
The national cycling team had a taste of things to come when they competed at the pre-SEA Games cycling competition in Naypyidaw last week, where Yafiz was impressed with the facilities on offer.
"Both the mountain-bike (MTB) track and BMX course are the best in the region right now," said Yafiz yesterday.
"UCI (International Cycling Union) will even announce it as a good track and course to organise UCI races.
"The race venue is very good and everything was well organised by the Myanmar government.
"The place is nice and is good as a training ground. The weather is also nice and it looked safe," added the ex-national and state cyclist for Malaysia and Selangor.
Mohd Nurjamri Johari was the only Bruneian in action in Myanmar after visa problems denied Muhammad Raihaan Abd Aziz and Shahnizzam Hj Tamit the chance to travel.
Though he did not finish the race because of technical difficulties, Nurjamri still ended ninth out of the 10 riders in the cross-country event.
Raihaan was also supposed to race in the cross-country event while Shahnizzam was set to enter the downhill event.
"His bike had some problems and he had to pull out of the race with two laps to go," said Yafiz of Nurjamri.
"He could have done well but he was just unlucky and it was definitely frustrating.
"I believe that if Raihaan was there then we would have managed a good result. Shahnizzam would have showed something too and the track and course should be easy for them," he added.
Yafiz also managed to go through the cross-country track for a lap and also obtained feedback from other riders as well about the downhill course.
"The track is good for technical riders, and Raihaan is one of them," stated Yafiz.
"It is not a very tough track and he has raced in similar ones. As for the downhill course, it is really fast and really technical. There are a lot of straight lines and it's easy to reach high speeds.
"It is an advantage for heavy downhillers and good sprinters because a lot of pedaling is required.
"If we can get a month to train at the venue before the SEA Games, I believe that we can even get a medal during the actual competition," continued the Malaysian.
The national coach has got 10 cyclists shortlisted for the SEA Games; six for the road race event, two for cross-country and two for downhill.
Reduan Yusop, I'maadi Aziz, Rifa'ie Johor, Loqman Hadzid, Syazwi Hairolrani and Nazri Mastani make up the road race team whileAzizi Kamal is the other cyclist for the downhill event.
They have been training since last year and are looking to go to Kota Kinabalu to train again after a successful stint there in February.
Next on the calendar for the team are the Melaka Governor Cup later this month and the ACC (Asian Cycling Championship) MTB in China in May.
The Brunei Times