Meeting "Pocket Rocketman" nine years ago inspired Muhammad Shah Firdaus

Credit: Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom
24/07/2021 06:55 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, July 24 -- Who would have thought that his meeting up close with national track cycling champion Datuk Mohd Azizulhasni Awang nine years ago would inspire Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom to set foot at the Olympic Games one day.

For the national track cyclist, the opportunity to meet face-to-face and take memorable photographs with 'The Pocket Rocketman',  who had just returned home after competing in the 2012 London Olympics at that time, was very meaningful in his career journey to successfully share the Olympic stage with the 33-year-old Mohd Azizulhasni at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which officially opened yesterday.

Recalling the beautiful moment, Muhammad Shah Firdaus, 25, said that the meeting was arranged by his assistant coach then known as Zamani or Abang Black.

"For just an ordinary boy who really likes to ride a bicycle, meeting a figure like (Mohd) Azizul was very meaningful. Before that, I was only able to see him in the media and cheer from in front of my television in the dining hall.

"That encounter fired up this boy in the white shirt, planted the ambition to one day set foot in the world's biggest sporting event," he said in a post with two pictures of him with Mohd Azizulhasni on his Instagram today.

Muhammad Shah Firdaus said that the struggle and journey he experienced in the last nine years ago was full of twists and turns apart from describing reaching the Olympic Games as 'expensive' for him but realising his dream of shouldering the challenge for his beloved country in Japan with Mohd Azizulhasni.

"Starting from just a glimpse of a dream, with prayer and effort, Alhamdulillah (thanks to Allah), the "Olympic Dream" has become a reality. Really, this reality is more beautiful than a dream. If you can dream it, you can do it, ”he added.

The two cycling aces are scheduled to take part in the keirin and individual sprint events at the Tokyo Olympics, which will take place at the Izu Velodrome starting August 4.

The curtains come down on the Tokyo Olympics on  August 8.