15 November, 2008

Jelajah Malaysia Postponed

By : Arnaz M. Khairul (NST)

THE Jelajah Malaysia's 2009 edition, originally scheduled for Jan 11-18, has been postponed to mid-April, casting a shadow of gloom over the start of the new cycling season.

Postponement was inevitable seeing that organiser 10-Speed Sdn Berhad had yet to secure a title sponsor and the new date in April will be announced subject to approval by the International Cycling Union (UCI).

A proposed merger with Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) aimed at running the race on schedule did not materialise, after the organiser was asked by LTdL chief operating officer Datuk Naim Mohamad to wait another two weeks for a definite answer to its financial woes.

The Jelajah Malaysia 2009, operating on a lengthened route comprising eight stages, requires a budget of RM4 million to run smoothly, but the organiser is without financial support.

Executive director Ahmad Arif Astaman said yesterday the date in April instead of an earlier proposal to have it in June was done upon discussions with UCI Asia Tour coordinator Jamaludin Mahmood.

"If we had to wait another two weeks before getting a definite answer, this would be impossible to mobilise our protocol and other relevant departments in order to deliver the race on time," said Ahmad Arif.

l THE national track cycling sprints squad got an early boost ahead of the opening of their UCI World Cup campaign when they bagged the sprint double at the Perth Grand Prix in Australia on Monday.

Azizul Hasni Awang (pic) took over where he left off in the Beijing Olympics and was fastest in qualifying for the 200m sprint, and triumphed by beating Australia's Scott Sunderland in the final.

In the keirin, the Malaysians registered a one-two-three finish with Josiah Ng winning, ahead of Azizul and Edrus Yunus, who were second and third respectively.

The Malaysians kick-off their UCI World Cup campaign with the second round in Melbourne next weekend.

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