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Malaysia makes Games history in mountain cycling

HANOI (VNA) – The national mountain cycling crew of Malaysia made history yesterday by bagging the country’s first gold medal in the mixed cross-country relay event at the ongoing 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Vietnam’s Hoa Binh northern mountainous province.

In the final, the squad comprising Ahmad Syazrin Awang Ilah, Zulfikri Zulkifli, Nur Assyira Zainal Abidin and Natahsya Soon clocked 1:23:14 to emerge victorious.

The best achievement of the Malaysian team was winning the silver medal in the Games in 2011.

Speaking to the Malaysian national news agency Bernama, team manager Firdaus Arshad described the success as an amazing achievement as the national squad, which was labelled as ‘underdogs’, managed to spring a surprise.

He said the gold medal was also made possible by the strong fighting spirit after Assyira and Natahsya bagged silver and bronze medals respectively in the women’s cross-country event a day earlier.

The success also ended Malaysia’s 11-year medal drought in cycling at the SEA Games.

A Malaysian cyclist celebrates on the finishing line. PHOTO: VNA