Muhammad I'maadi Abd Aziz crossing the finish line to win the Pehin Dato Awang Haji Yahya National Cycling Competition in 2012. The national cyclist is training at the UCI World Cycling Centre in Switzerland. Picture: BT file
Muhammad I'maadi Abd Aziz has been given an opportunity of a lifetime after being sent to Switzerland to train at the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) World Cycling Centre (WCC).
The national cyclist is currently undergoing the 2014 Under-23 Road Training Camp in Geneva, and his stay at the Olympic training centre will be a big boost for him ahead of May's Asian Cycling Championships (ACC) in Astana, Kazakhstan.
I'maadi is coping well with his new three-month programme which started on March 1 - though he admits he has had to make some adjustments since he got to Switzerland.
"Training here is really different to what I've done before," said I'maadi when contacted by The Brunei Times.
"It is like we are far behind in terms of the technology that they have here such as the bikes, supplements and diet. There have been so many things that I didn't know about before.
"Training is really tough for me but I have to thank coach (national coach Yafiz Jamaludin) for the training (in Brunei) and getting me ready.
"He gave me more confidence to follow the high-level training here.
"The selected riders here are really strong which makes it more difficult for me during training, but it has been good so far," added the national cyclist.
Yafiz hopes that I'maadi will be able to pick up as much as possible from the training to help lead the national squad during the ACC in Astana.
"Many professional riders have come from this centre... I don't expect him to turn pro but I hope he can learn something from there," said the national cycling coach.
"It's not easy to get this chance, that's why I hope he will gain something valuable for himself and for the country, and I also hope that he will perform well at the ACC.
"Once he performs maybe he can get a second chance to be there (WCC) again or create chances for other riders," continued Yafiz.
Yafiz said he applied for the training stint through Pro Asia Sports Management (PASM), where an agent helped him apply for a place at the centre.
I'maadi was offered a position after the WCC wrote in to the BDCF (Brunei Darussalam Cycling Federation).
The WCC is handling all the expenses during I'maadi's stay in Switzerland, and depending on the racing calendar, also provides him opportunities to participate in races.
The UCI's website states that the main objective of the WCC is to detect and train the most promising athletes so that they reach international level.