|A Malaysian biker crosses the finish line first. VNA/VNS Photo Trọng Đạt
Malaysia's cycling squad won gold in mountain biking at the road race events on May 17 in Hòa Bình Province.
Four cyclists, Ahmad Syazrin Awang Ilah, Zulfikri Zulkifli, Nur Assyira Zainal Abidin and Natahsya Soon, crossed the finish line at a time of 1:23:14.
This is the best result ever recorded by Malaysian cyclists. They won a silver medal at the SEA Games in 2011. Việt Nam ranked second with a time of 1:23.48, and Thailand came third in 1:24:54.
Speaking with Bernama (the Malaysian National News Agency), team manager Firdaus Arshad said the result was an unexpected achievement for Malaysian bikers because the team has been rated as low compared to other competitors.
Arshad also said that after achieving the gold, his bikers had strong determination to compete after two compatriots, Assyira and Natahsya, won silver and bronze medals in the women cycling events on May 16.
Their victory has quenched Malaysian gold medal thirst in MTB racing in SEA Games over the last 11 years.
Meanwhile, Đinh Thị Như Quỳnh, a cyclist of Mường ethnic minority group, won the first gold medal for the Vietnamese cycling team at the ongoing Games.
Quỳnh finished her race at the cross-country event on May 16 in a time of 1:18:5, leaving her Malaysian rivals Natahsya Soon and Nuz Assyria behind.
Quỳnh said the gold medal has significant meaning to her as it is the first time she has competed in her hometown.
During men's and women’s cross-country relay events, the Vietnamese team completed the 20.8km race, coming 34 seconds after their Malaysian competitors, and won a silver medal.
The cycling competitions will continue in Hòa Bình on May 19 with road race events. VNS