Melbourne Raya again for Shah

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PETALING JAYA — National cyclist Shah Firdaus Sahrom will spend his third Hari Raya in Melbourne for the sake of intensive training ahead of the Asian Games in August.

The last time the 23-year-old celebrated Hari Raya with his family in hometown Muar was in 2015.

“I’m getting used to celebrating with my track cycling family in cycling outfits, not Baju Melayu,” joked Shah.

“Usually head coach John (Beasley) will give us time off on the first day. Or at least half a day.

“We cook Raya dishes but the women’s team is great with specialties. So we help each other out.”

Long touted by Beasley as the next Azizulhasni Awang, Shah said his favourite Raya dish is ayam masak merah.

“All of us will visit Azizulhasni’s house. That’s our routine in Melbourne,” he added.

“Next day, we resume training at the track.

“This may be my Asian Games debut, but I’m eyeing a medal,” he added.

Missing his family, Shah’s sacrifice is for the nation.

“We must keep training as we face important races,” said Shah.

Shah is scheduled to combine with former world keirin champion Azizulhasni and Fadhil Zonis for the men’s team sprint mission in Jakarta.

At the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Shah finished the sprint fourth but made headlines for eliminating world champion Matt Glaetzer in the early stage.

Despite missing out on a medal, Shah was the pride of the contingent and Malaysians.

Australia’s Glaetzer later bowed in admission he was unceremoniously dumped in front of a shocked home crowd.