Monday, May 12, 2014

Coach challenges youngsters

IF Josiah Ng is still selected for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, head coach John Beasley believes the others in the now bulging line of top sprinters in the national squad should only blame themselves.

At 34, Josiah is still an integral part of the set-up, being prepared as an anchor for the team sprint trio at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July, but Beasley wants the youngsters to step up soon.
“We also have Rizal Tisin back and he’s 30, but he’s brought himself back to form really well. I’m preparing him to be our anchor for the team sprint at the Asian Games,” said Beasley.

But the likes of youngster Mohd Shah Firdaus Sahrom, who made a big impression at the first leg of the South East Asian GP Series at the Kuala Lumpur Velodrome yesterday, are firmly in the picture.
Beasley has five sprinters to pick from for the 200m sprint, keirin, 1km time trial and team sprint, with more coming when a trio of juniors step into the senior ranks next year.

Mohd Shah now adds to a formidable sprints squad that include Azizulhasni Awang, Josiah, Edrus Yunos and Rizal.

“Azizul, too, is now in the form of his life. He’s back to being the punchy sprinter he used to be, so we can be confident ahead of the Asian Championships,” said Beasley.
Time is on young Mohd Shah’s side, while Beasley aims to put together the next line of sprinters in the coming years.

The 19-year-old from Muar was only roped into the elite sprints squad six months ago but has put himself into the frame for selection for the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.

At the first leg of the South East Asian GP Series at the Kuala Lumpur Velodrome yesterday, Mohd Shah took senior Edrus Yunos to the wire in both heats of the 200m sprint final, even earning praise from his opponent for his fighting performance.

He had dislodged veteran Josiah Ng in the semi-final, after clocking an impressive second fastest qualifying time of 10.542s, earning himself a slot in both the 200m sprint and keirin at the Asian Championships.

Mohd Shah, said Beasley, will be central to the plans for the sprints squad in the coming years, with others such as two-time Asian junior keirin and sprints champion Mohd Firdaus Zonis and Asyraf Naim Ying also looking good to make the step-up next year.

“He (Mohd Shah) has good work ethic and he’s very disciplined, so we can expect to see more from him. The rest will come into the picture soon,” said Beasley.

“We have the plans laid out for the sprints squad, so I would say now their job is to dislodge Josiah from his position. That’s the challenge.

“If at 36, in two years time, Josiah still has to be selected for the Olympics squad, all these youngsters deserve a kick up their behinds,” exclaimed Beasley.

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