PETALING JAYA, Nov 18 — World keirin champion Azizulhasni Awang has shone again, this time as a model student to Malaysian athletes on striking a winning balance between sports and the paper chase.
The 29-year-old rider from Dungun, Terengganu, received acknowledgement from Victoria University as “Male Athlete of the Year” yesterday, an icon for local athletes that academic pursuit is not out of reach despite busy sport competitions.
“You have to juggle (career and study) everything well and balance it right. I’m an athlete, a student and a family man… but I did it,” he said in Melbourne.
Azizulhasni, who won fame as “Pocket Rocketman” beat another three final candidates to be chosen as the best —Todd Hodgetts a Paralympic athlete (shot put T20), Bailey Lewis (taekwondo) and Sergei Evglevski (shooting).
Azizulhasni’s foremost achievement was in 2017 when he won the World Championships keirin title in March.
While being an Olympian, Azizulhasni who is studying bachelor degree in ‘Clinical Fitness and Science’ in Victoria University, was honoured once with a Full Blue Award from Victoria University in 2015, making him the first non-Australian to be given the recognition.
“To juggle it all is not easy but I managed to overcome the obstacles. Only you can handle yourself.
“I thank my beloved wife (Athiah Ilyana Abd Samat), my two amazing daughters, my coach John Beasley and his wife Vicky who have always supported me,” said Azizulhasni who was previously backed by Sime Darby Foundation.
The Rio Olympic bronze medallist, who now rides for CIMB Pro Cycling Team, will be defending his keirin title at the World Championships in Holland in February.