PETALING JAYA: Track cyclist Azizulhasni Awang is still unable to ride in the velodrome back in his Melbourne training base – so he’s fattening himself up.

No, he’s not getting fat. He’s getting bulkier, in a healthy way. The 2017 world champion keirin cyclist, who tips the scales at 68kg, is planning to put on another two kg of muscle weight to prepare himself for the postponed Tokyo Olympics.

The postponement of the Olympics to July next year will see changes to Azizul’s training programme and he needs to build up his strength to complement his explosive power which has benefited him in the past.

Azizul will be 33 next year when he rides in individual keirin and sprint at the Olympics next year.

“The longer wait means I need to properly plan my training programme.

“It’s not just preparing for competitions. I need to have enough time for proper conditioning in between.

“The main goal will be Tokyo. I am not at the ideal weight and I need to gain two more kg of muscle mass.

“It’s harder as one grows older to build pure muscle mass but it’s the only way to be competitive at the highest level of my sport,” said Azizul, who is hopeful of getting into shape for a medal challenge in the sprint as well, based on his performance at the Track Cycling World Championships in Berlin in March.

At Berlin, Azizul produced a stunning performance to smash his own national record of 9.609s in the sprint.

He clocked 9.548 in his qualifying run and went on to take bronze – his first medal in the sprint in 11 years.

Azizul, riding a custom-made state-of-the-art bike, also claimed bronze in the keirin to become the first Asian cyclist to make the podium twice in world championships history.

“Hopefully, we can try out new things to improve the bike with the longer time before the Olympics.

“I never expected to dip under 9.5 seconds at the world meet.

“I hope to ride another personal best at the Olympics and if I can do it, I believe I have a chance to fight for a sprint medal too,” said Azizul, who is the reigning Asian champion for sprint.

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