Cyclist Azizulhasni Awang in his thank-you note after bagging a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics 2016 has taken a sarcastic swipe at Terengganu Menteri Besar Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman.
“To Terengganu menteri besar... Fatehah and I would still like to express our thanks even though you did not agree to help us, two Terengganu natives, competing on a global stage and at this Olympics.
“Thank you for not buying a ‘Road Bike’ for our use in preparation for this Olympics, even though the proposal was submitted nearly one year ago,” said Azizulhasni who placed third in the Keirin cycling event.
“Also, thank you for not giving us any feedback and remaining silent when my manager contacted you.
“For your information, Fatehah and I are world-class Olympic athletes, something which you have always overlooked. Maybe one of the factors is that we have been training overseas,” said the 28-year-old in a Facebook post.
Cyclist Fatehah Mustapa, who is also from Terengganu, failed to advance to the first round of the sprint after finishing 21st in the qualifiers.
Both Azizulhasni and Fatehah are based with the Malaysian team in Melbourne.
Azizulhasni went on to urge Ahmad Razif to view the matter in a positive light, expressing hope that his victory would serve as an “eye opener” to all parties who were supposed to play their roles.
“No matter what happens, we are still proud to be born and raised in Terengganu...,” said the three-time Olympian nicknamed ‘The Pocket Rocket Man’.
Sidelined by the state government, Azizulhasni’s career was supported through federal agencies including the National Sports Institute and the National Sports Council.
“Thank you to the Youth and Sports Ministry that has always supported me and listened to my pleas. Especially to minister Khairy Jamaluddin who always gave his solid support and trust in me.
“I hope that this bronze medal would be able to pay back their investment in me all this while. I hope that the ministry will continue to put their trust in 'thepocketrocketman’ to chase for gold in Tokyo 2020,” he said.
Meanwhile, Twitter user Yasir Tamizi tweeted if the purchase of road bikes for training purposes is part of what the state government is supposed to contribute to, in addition to federal and corporate financing as well as sponsored biking equipment.
Khairy responded that maybe Azizulhasni just wanted a token contribution from his home state.
“Maybe he wanted to get some contribution from the home state. Road bikes are not the ones used (for racing) on the track,” tweeted the youth and sports minister.
On the people behind his journey to the podium, Azizulhasni credited his Australian coach John Beasely as being a father figure for the Malaysian team, as well as the man who identified his talent as a young boy in Dungun, Rozimi Omar.
He also dedicated a special thank-you message to his parents in Dungun, wife Athiah Ilyana, and their two daughters, Amna Maryam and Amna Khadeeja.
Azizulhasni’s victory is the first ever medal won by the cycling team in the Olympics.
The gold medal in the event went to Britain's Jason Kenny, while Matthijs Buchli of The Netherlands bagged the silver.