IF Liverpool fans feel cheated by the Coronavirus coming at the time when they were well on their way to securing a long awaited English Premier League title, the Malaysian national paracycling team would understand their situation.
On song with a stunning Paralympics qualifying campaign which saw them secure an historic three slots with more expected, the whole season caved in as the world went into lockdown mode, with the Tokyo Paralympics itself postponed alongside the Olympics, to next year.
Head coach Johari Nayan himself, apart from keeping himself busy with the production of his prototype LeTua Ergo Bike, which we featured last week, has kept a close watch on his stable of driven riders as they kept themselves busy while locked in at home.
Malaysia has been under the Movement Control Order (MCO) since March 18 as the world is locked in battle with the Covid 19 pandemic.
“There’s nothing we can do about this. The world is in lockdown and all competitions have been postponed or cancelled. It is disappointing for the riders, especially as they had worked so hard and were hitting form at the right time,” said Johari.
“We had secured the qualifications for the track events and we were eyeing qualification for the road events through the Paracycling Road World Championships in Ostende, Belgium in June, before that got cancelled too,” he added.
The 23-year old Mohd Yusof Hafizi Shaharuddin had created personal history when he won the bronze medal in the C1 scratch race the Paracycling Track World Championships in Canada in February, while Johari saw Zuhairie Ahmad Tarmizi, who had managed significant gains in his effort to reach Paralympics medal potential, most disappointed with the postponements.
“We needed to get Zuhairie down to the 1 minute 04 seconds range in order for him to stand a chance for a medal at the Paralympics. He was already bettering his 1:06.+ personal best in training.
“Taking it positively, if we can sustain as much of this form during this Movement Control Order (MCO) period and get back to training after that, the postponement may give us time to really work on these marginal gains,” said Johari.
Most significantly, the paracycling team sprint squad, ranked fourth in the world, had already secured qualification for the Paralympics through a qualifying season where they fielded trios from the quartet of Yusof, Zuhairie, Najib Turano and Muhamad Hafiz Jamali.
Yusof had been lined as the starter for the team sprint trio, with Zuhairie as anchor, while Najib the most frequently utilised second man, with Hafiz mainly the reserve rider in their historic season thus far.
The other rider in the squad is newly roped in Ambrose Edau Enjat from Kapit, Sarawak.
The women’s squad of Nur Azlia Syafinaz Mohd Zais, Nurul Suhada Zainal, Nur Suraiya Mohd Zamri and Farina Shawati Mohd Adnan, who is in the process of being roped in from the women’s elite squad to tandem pilot for Nur Suraiya.
The women are on 584 points in the nations’ rankings, just 17 points behind Slovakia who are in the 25th spot, which earns a Paralympics slot on merit, but Johari said a request could be made to the International Paralympics Council (IPC) for a a birtape or expansion slot allocation.
So, with that understood, it is time for action and how exactly do you keep this momentum.
Following is video evidence of the national paracycling squad sticking to the #StayAtHome order while also adhering to their coach’s #TrainHard order.
Ambrose came up with his series of home workouts replicating gym work.
Was that helpful?
Now, Zuhairie kept himself busy not just just on the stationary trainer…
Zuhairie has an advantage over the rest of us during this lockdown period. His beach-front home in Marang, Terengganu, the former T-Team FC footballer, does some serious fishing without breaching the MCO!
Najib Turano also updates his coach on his home training regime:
Farina Shawati just provides a picture to prove she isn’t slacking on training during this period either.
In case you missed our earlier feature, here is what Johari himself has been up to during the MCO period. He came up with a prototype of the LeTua Ergo Bike.