Official Website of Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council
Short term memory required
Saturday, January 4, 2014

The team during a pre-SEA Games high altitude training camp in Kundasang, Sabah last November. Picture: BT file

The national cycling team with national coach Yafiz Jamaludin (L) at the SEA Games. Picture: BT file

Short term memory is exactly what the national cycling team need right now.

They have to quickly forget their disappointing campaign at the recently concluded 27th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar, a campaign which saw the five-rider team end empty-handed despite starting with promise to finish at the podium.

Considering the team's previous results leading up to the biennial tournament, national cycling coach Yafiz Jamaludin was targeting a good showing at the Games - especially since the team were looking to make up for being left out of the 2011 Games.

However, it ended up with heartbreak for the Malaysian - who was left dumbfounded and disappointed with his team's poor fortunes in Naypyidaw.

It was always going to be difficult considering he was missing the experienced duo of Muhammad Raihaan Abd Aziz and Muhd Nurjamri Johari.

Muhammad Rafiuddin Zikara and Muhammad I'maadi Abd Aziz got things off at the Myanmar capital by failing to complete the cross country Olympic event, the duo pulling out of the 4.1km course with two laps remaining.

I'maadi would finish 22nd position out of the 27 riders, with Rafiuddin another two spots back.

Rafiuddin had a good start and kept up with the leading pack before suffering a tyre puncture in the opening lap that saw him lose out on precious time.

The latter would be the only Bruneian to pedal in the men's 50km individual time trial, placing 14th out of the 18 competitors after clocking a time of 1:18:49.

Rafiuddin was satisfied with the results despite the poor finish, especially since it was his first time taking part in the event.

Yafiz wasn't too worried about the individual events as his main goal was to see his charges perform in the team events, but he was shattered after the national cycling team finished second last in the men's 100km team time trial.

Only three of the four national cyclists - Reduan Yusop, Azmi @ Lokman Abd Hadzid and Ahmad Rifa'ie Hj Johor - made it to the finish line.

They registered a time of 3:03:43 which saw them end seventh, only beating hosts Myanmar in the process.

Problems arose at the 5km mark after the flag off with I'maadi failing to keep pace with the race of the team. He continued the course towards the tough climb conditions before calling it quits at the 60km mark.

The team had one final chance to redeem themselves in the men's 163km road race but ended with more disappointment after Brunei finished last out of the eight countries, with only three out of the five cyclists crossing the line.

Ahmad Rifa'ie, I'maadi and Reduan finished the race for a total time of 14:39:12, and arriving in the final eight-rider peloton, invidiually registered a time of 4:53:04.

The Sultanate were the only team to finish more than an hour behind winners Indonesia.

There were other dark moments for the sport which included the postponement of the Tour de Brunei - the Sultanate's highlight cycling event of the year and the only one that features on the International Cycling Union (UCI) Asia Tour.

It was scheduled for Sept 25-29 but was cancelled due to the dates coinciding with key national events.

More bad news followed in September with the passing of long-time Brunei Darussalam Cycling Federation (BDCF) president Hj Rosli Hj Mohidin, who lost his battle against cancer.

Despite all the downs, there were also some bright spots along the way with good results throughout the year.

The national team kicked things off with the Melaka Governor's Cup held in Malaysia back in April.

Reduan was the best Bruneian after finishing in 24th position - 5 mins and 39 seconds behind the winner.

Raihaan came in at 34th place while Ahmad Rifa'ie Johor was 51st. I'maadi was down in 64th while Mohammad Nazri Mastani didn't finish the race due to technical problems when his crash and gear hanger cracked.

Nurjamri had a good outing at the MTB Huangshan 2013 in China from April 13-14 after finishing 26th out of the 127 riders.

Meanwhile in May, Raihaan was the country's best rider in Myanmar after finishing third in the 50km individual event at the pre-SEA Games cycling competition.

Together with Syazwi Hairolrani, Rifa'ie, I'maadi, Reduan and Loqman, they also claimed third spot in the road race team event.

Raihaan followed up his good form by capturing both the Cross Country Olympic (XCO) and Cross Country Circuit (CCC) categories at the Malar Setia MTB Challenge 2013 at the Berakas Forest Reserve two days later.

In early June, Raihaan crossed the line second in the Cross Country event at the Harian Metro Mountain Bike Grand Prix in Putrajaya, Malaysia.

His younger brother, I'maadi, also produced good results after he won silver in the Elite Men category 15km scratch race at the Kuala Lumpur Open Track Cycling Championship in the first week of July.

Brunei's duo of youth cyclists - Ahmad Jawaahir Hj Johor and Muhd Shahrizan Shaiful Rizal - was also given a taste of international action with the Tour de l'Abitibi Desjardins in Canada in mid July.

Neither of the two Bruneian riders managed to finish the first stage of the tour though.

The duo that were paired up with two German riders to form the Allemagne-Brunei squad in the junior men's mixed team fell to a grueling 117.2km road race.

Rifa'ie was the best performer in the Tour de East Java after he finished 30th overall out of the 65 cyclists with a total time of 9:39:17 in September while in early October, Raihaan ended the Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge (LIMBC) in 32nd place as the Sultanate's top finisher.

The team then headed to Sabah for high altitude training and the team then received a confidence booster ahead of the SEA Games after dominating the Century Cycling Race in Kota Kinabalu.

Brunei clinched the top four spots in the Road Men's Open Elite category and also topped the Mountain Bike (MTB) Men's Open Elite category.

Rifa'ie led the way in the Road Men's Open Elite category followed by I'maadi, Azmi@ Loqman and Reduan respectively while Raihaan crossed the line first in the MTB Men's Open Elite

The new year is already here and the sport will definitely hope for a turn for the better.

Courtesy from Brunei Times