‘I will sleep in this jersey’ - Awang Azizulhasni revels in Malaysia’s first world track gold
Awang Azizulhasni celebrated winning Malaysia's first Track Cycling World Championships title with his trademark wheelie in a popular success on day two in Hong Kong.
Awang became Malaysia's first Olympic cycling medallist last August in Rio, with bronze as Britain's Jason Kenny won Keirin gold.
And now the 29-year-old has the world champion's rainbow jersey after beating Fabian Puerta of Colombia and Tomas Babek of the Czech Republic in the same event at the Hong Kong Velodrome.
Awang has come close on numerous occasions and is perhaps best known in Britain as the cyclist who in February 2011 had his calf muscle skewered by a splinter off the Manchester Velodrome track. He said:
" I just screamed, watched the scoreboard and saw my name in first place. I just cannot believe it. I've been trying for 10 years. Finally it's my time to be a world champion. It's unbelievable. Keep trying and never give up... today is my day after 10 years."
Awang's gold was his fifth Track World Championships medal, 10 years after his first participation in the global event.
Malaysia's Mohd Azizulhasni Awang celebratesReuters
He won sprint silver behind France's Gregory Bauge in 2009 and Keirin silver a year later behind Sir Chris Hoy.
He was third in the Keirin in 2015 and 2016 before triumphing this year.
The rider known as the 'Pocket Rocketman' due to his diminutive stature, particularly compared to his sprint rivals, has no plans to take off his new prized possession - the rainbow jersey.
Azizulhasni Awang got a huge splinter in 2011AFP
"It's maybe a little bit big for me, but it doesn't matter," Awang added.
"I'm going to sleep in this jersey tonight. Definitely I will sleep with the rainbow jersey. And on the way back to Malaysia I'm going to wear this too."