NILAI: Azizulhasni Awang’s hope is that the National Velodrome in Nilai will not end up as a white elephant.
The newly-crowned world keirin champion yesterday became the first cyclist to test out the newly-laid wooden surface made from Siberian spruce.
He rode a few laps alone and was later joined by the national back-up riders and para cyclists.
The velodrome is the country’s first indoor track and built at a cost of RM80mil. It will host track cycling as well as BMX events at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games from Aug 19-30.
“It looks smooth and fast. The surroundings outside looks dusty but it should be OK for the SEA Games.
“I feel proud that we finally have our own indoor velodrome. It can be one of the best in the world.
“I hope to see the track hosting the World Cup and World Championships in the future.
“My signature is etched on the finishing line, so it will be a special moment for me when I retire,” said the 29-year-old Azizul, who made history for Malaysia when he won the keirin gold at the Track Cycling World Championships in Hong Kong last week.
“In Melbourne (his training base in Australia), schoolkids are brought in every weekend to see cycling competitions.
“This can also be done here. It will be good if some of them go on to develop an interest in cycling.
“A lot of money has been spent building this velodrome so I hope it does not become a white elephant,” said Azizul, also the first Malaysian cyclist to win a medal at the Olympics when he bagged a keirin bronze in Rio de Janeiro last year.