My Mental Strength Is Stronger Than Ever Before - Azizulhasni

28/05/2024 04:50 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 (Bernama) -- National track cycling champion Datuk Mohd Azizulhasni Awang is convinced that he is mentally stronger than ever as he prepares to saddle up for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

Despite doubts from certain quarters following his open heart surgery in 2022, Azizulhasni, who will be making his fifth and final appearance at the Olympics, believes his mental state has strengthened significantly after enduring such a challenging moment in his career.

“My mind was already strong before but after going through the process (open heart surgery), it has just become stronger.

“If you have a strong mind, you have a strong body so, any difficulties or challenges that come my way now are nothing,” he told reporters when met at the Olympic-themed menu launch at the renowned Japanese restaurant Nobu here today.

The 36-year-old Dungun-born rider underwent open heart surgery due to a rare heart condition known as anomalous aortic origin of the right coronary artery (AAORCA) at the Epworth Richmond Hospital in Melbourne, Australia in April 2022.

Azizulhasni, popularly known as ‘the Pocket Rocketman’, did admit that he was pleasantly surprised by his performance at current competitions, as he initially anticipated a decline upon reaching his mid-30s.

"During training in the gymnasium, I still feel strong, and on the bike, I'm still going strong. Moreover, in track cycling, we have data that can track everything, including my power and speed, and my coach (John Beasley) was also surprised (the results)," he said.

The two-time Olympic medallist said the strong support system from his family, team and Malaysians were the reasons keeping him going and making him stronger when he rides on the track.

He also shared that National Heart Institute director of cardiovascular sports and fitness/senior consultant cardiothoracic surgeon Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Jeswant Dillon will travel to Paris to monitor his health throughout the 2024 Olympic Games.

“Dr Jeffrey Jeswant will be on standby in Paris. It’s very important for me to feel comfortable and safe in case anything happens,” the 2017 men’s keirin world champion said.

Dr Jeffrey, who teamed up with Australian surgeon, Dr Aubrey Almeida, played a crucial role in ‘saving Azizulhasni’s life’ during the open-heart surgery in Melbourne.

The 2024 Olympic Games will kick off on July 26 and end on Aug 11.