NATIONAL cycling coach Yafiz Jamaludin had nothing but praise for Muhammad I'maadi Abd Aziz after his gutsy performances in two track events at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Despite being unable to achieve his target of a top-20 finish after failing to qualify for the finals of both his events so far, I'maadi's displays at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome have still impressed Yafiz – largely because Brunei doesn't have a velodrome of its own.
“He does not have any exposure and intensive training when it comes to track cycling, but he was still determined to give it his best,” Yafiz told The Brunei Times on Monday when asked about I'maadi's men's 20km scratch race qualifiers on Sunday.
“For me, he worked hard to put out his best performance, and I am very satisfied with all his efforts.
“If you measure it in terms of his preparation and that of the other cyclists, it is very encouraging because he was the only cyclist from a country that does not have a track, but still joined a track event. I really hope one day Brunei will have its own velodrome,” added the coach.
Adding more weight on I'maadi's shoulders is the fact the 21-year-old is the country's only representative in Glasgow, but he has taken that in his stride.
Competing in the men's 20km scratch race qualifiers, I'maadi managed to hold his own until the later stages of the event.
Yafiz explained that the race started with 18 cyclists and only the top-12 would enter the final.
With 20 laps to go, there were only 14 cyclists who were still in action, but in the last 15 laps, I'maadi and a cyclist from Barbados were left behind by a big group of riders – which meant they were then knocked out.
Yafiz went on to state that the rules allow the race commissioner to disqualify any cyclist who falls too far behind the main group so as not to hinder them.
“It was very disappointing for him... But I advised him to forget about the defeat so he could focus on the road race on Sunday,” said Yafiz.
“Physically, it was obvious I'maadi was the smallest of them all, and there was also a big gap in their experience,” added the Malaysian.
I'maadi was close to qualifying for the final of his first event, the men’s 40km points race on Saturday, when he finished 13th in the field of 17 cyclists.
Both the 20km scratch race and 40km points race divided the entries into two heats, with the top-12 from each heat progressing to the final.
The Brunei Times