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 Sports

Sabah teen Waldron wins bronze

160119-back-a
Waldron Chee

16th January, 2019

By FRANCIS XAVIER

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah track cyclist Waldron Chee created history by becoming the first Sabahan boy to make a podium finish after clinching a bronze medal in Individual Pursuit at the Asian Cycling Championship (ACC) held in Jakarta International Velodrome, over the weekend.

At Asia’s most prestigious cycling competition, Waldron, 16, clocked 3:30.427 for a third place, missing the second spot by just 0.15s in the qualifying round of 3000m individual pursuit.

He was rather unlucky after a slow qualifier that cost him a spot in the gold-medal race.

In the bronze-medal decider against Japan’s Hiroto Shinomiya, Waldron blasted to a four seconds’ lead after eight laps and never looked back.

Waldron is no stranger to success, having won two gold medals in the Sabah Games 2017, and two bronze medals in the Malaysia Games 2018.

He was called into the national team seven weeks ago to prepare for ACC, his first international race.

In Jakarta, he went up against the top junior cyclists from Asian powerhouses such as Japan, Kazakhstan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and India.

Sabah Sports Council Director, Mohd Asneh Mohd Noor, was elated with the historical feat. “Sabah is proud to contribute to Malaysia’s medal tally at ACC. With further development of cycling, Sabah will be a new force in Malaysian cycling. I hope this is the first of many successes for our track cycling team.

The KK lad’s performance and composure in ACC received high praise from the national head coach, John Beasley.

“I love how he races and handles himself. He will be going places, that I am sure. It is to Sabah’s credit how well trained Waldron is coming into the national team. Well done!,” the Australian added.

Akmal Amrun, the national junior coach believes Waldron can be developed to be an excellent racer as he has natural abilities, discipline and positive attitude.

“He needs to improve on his decision making and race tactics which will come with more exposure and race experience,” he added.

ACC 2019, broadcast live via Facebook, was a boon for Sabah cycling fans.

Not only could they watch one of their own racing at a continental level, but they also picked up rules and race formats of track cycling.

Without a velodrome, track cycling is foreign to most Sabahans. Yet seeing of Sabah’s very own racing at the top level had many reading up on track cycling on Wikipedia.

“For our elite track cyclists, we are working on a special program to address this performance gap so they are provided with the opportunity to improve even further,” said Sabah track cycling coach, Louis Pang.

“Locally, we need to widen our coaching and scouting network. The talents are here, we just need to find them,” he said.

   
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