SHORT HISTORY OF BICYCLE RACING IN MALAYSIA
It is not known when actually the sport of bicycle racing was introduced in Malaysia. From reliable sources it is believed that bicycle racing was introduced by British Soldiers posted to Malaya before 1938. It was only in 1938 that organised activities in the sport of bicycle racing began with a number of Road races being held in and around Kuala Lumpur.
The first State in Malaysia to form an Association was Selangor in 1938 with a number of Bicycle Racing Clubs already in existence then such as the ” Rough Riders ” “Agas Wheelers” and others. With the formation of the Selangor State Cycling Association, cycling activities started to spread to other States like Perak, Melaka and Penang.
The Malaysian National Cycling Federation was formed in 1953 thanks to the untiring efforts of the late Mr. Gurchan Singh and Captain C.O. Jennings (an officer of the New Zealand Regiment) with the States of Selangor, Melaka, Perak and Penang being affiliated members. The Registration Number of the Federation was RSM 146/55.
Major Road Races such as the Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh Race had been held since 1947 and the response from the Affiliates and all concerned had been tremendous. This went on until the end of 1970 when it was replaced by the Kuala Lumpur to Alor Star Race. Apart from this, other road races and track events were held from time to time.
It needs to be stated here that track events had already been introduced in the 1950s in Venues like the Lucky World Park in Kuala Lumpur where events were run on ” Plank Track ” and on grass in Melaka. Other events competed on grass were in Kuala Lumpur, Klang, Melaka, Ipoh, Penang, Muar and Segamat.
The Malaysian National Cycling Federation organised an International Road Race and Grass Track Events in conjunction with the Independence celebrations of Malaysia in 1957 – all in all, eleven Countries took part in the Competition.
In 1957 when Thailand hosted the 1st SEAP Games ( now know as the SEA Games ) the National Cycling Team, though very prepared and can be considered as strong contenders, was unable to take part because the National Cycling body had not been accepted as an affiliate of the Union Cycliste Internationale, thus preventing it from competing.
On 5th. March, 1960, the Malaysian National Cycling Federation was accepted as a member of the Union Cycliste Internationale and at the same time became a member of the Olympic Council of Malaysia. With this new status, the MNCF was invited by Indonesia to participate in their Competition and without hesitation sent a team there.
In August 1962, MNCF took part in the IV Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia where we managed to finish third for a Bronze Medal in the Team Road Race.
During the IV Asian Games in Jakarta in August, 1962, the late Mr. Gurchan Singh initiated the formation of the Asian Cycling Federation comprising of Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Taiwan, Iran, Hong Kong, Thailand and Malaya ( now Malaysia ) with him being elected as the President.
In October, 1962, the National Cycling Team once again competed in an International Meet. This time in the Commonweatlh Games held in Perth, Australia, where for the first time, the Team competed in the Track Events in a real Velodrome.
On his return from Perth, the late Mr. Gurchan Singh started the ball rolling for the construction of a proper Velodrome in Malaysia but his efforts came to an abrupt end with his unexpected demise on 5th. March, 1965.
When Malaysia was formed in the year 1963, MNCF were given the honours to host the 1st. Asian Cycling Compionships in Kuala Lumpur. Nine Countries took part in the Championships i.e. Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Iran, Indonesia, Japan, Hong Kong and the hosts Malaysia. The Malaysian team managed to win a gold medal in the Team grass track event at the Merdeka Stadium.
In preparation for the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1964, MNCF for the first time, organised the Tour of Malaysia which started in Alor Star, Kedah and ended in Singapore. A number of Countries took part in the Tour.
And again for the first time, Malaysia took part in the Olympic Games in Tokyo in October, 1964. Even though we did not win any medals, the exposure and experience the Team gained from the Olympic Games were considerable.
In October, 1965, the Malaysian Team took part in the 2nd Asian Cycling Championships held in Manila, Philippines where the Team managed to win a number of Bronze medals only.
In December of the same year, Malaysia hosted the 3rd SEAP Games in Kuala Lumpur. Seven Countries took part and Malaysia managed to win one gold, six silver and one Bronze medals.
From the year 1966 to 1969, the Malaysian Team, took part in a number of International Competitions suSch as the Asian Games, the SEAP Games and also the Olympic Games but the most memorable event was the ” Goodwill Race ” from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore with the Riders carrying a Goodwill message from the Rt. Hon. YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, Prime Minister of Malaysia to the Rt. Hon. Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister of Singapore.
Due to the failure of the National Team in the 1969 SEAP Games in Rangoon Burma, the Olympic Council of Malaysia decided to drop Cycling from the SEA Games to be hosted by Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur in 1971. This failure also saw the resignation of the whole EXCO during the Annual General Meeting of the MNCF in January, 1970.
A new Committee without a President was formed to take over the admisnistration of the MNCF immediately after the Annual General Meeting and it inherited a total of $44.60 being the balance in the Bank. But with dedication and personal sacrifices by the New Committee Members, they were able to face all the challenges including the damaging decision of the Olympic Council of Malaysia not to include Cycling in the 1971 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.
With this kind of determination and dedication by the Committee Members and all those involved, all the hard work put in by them finally paid off, when in August 1970 the National Team won the SUHARTO Cup in the Tour of Jawa in which more than a dozen teams from inside and outside Indonesia took part.
This win in Indonesia was greeted by ridicule by most of the news media in Malaysia saying that it was only a flash in the pan. But when in December, 1970, the National Team when competing in the Asian Games in Bangkok, won 2 Gold, 1 Silver and 2 Bronze Medals, only then the press started to took at MNCF in a different light and with renewed respect.
And now with the Press behind as, we were able to convince the Olympic Council of Malaysia to reinstate Cycling in the 1971 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur. With the reinstatement of Cycling, the Malaysian Team once again proved the we were a team to be proud of when we won 5 Gold, 3 Siver and 2 Bronze Medals.
In order to improve and further develop Cycling in Malaysia, MNCF revived the Tour of Malaysia which was last organised in 1963. This event was competed for by four of our neighbours i.e. Brunei, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.
In August, 1972, the National Team took part in the Munich Olympic Games. The Team did not win any medal here but the exposure and the experience gained from it, proved to be very valuable when we succeeded greatly in the SEA Games 1973 in Singapore.
In 1973 and 1975, we organised the Tour of Malaysia and these times around, Countries from the West, Middle East and the Far East took part.
During this period, MNCF organised a number of Courses and Seminars for our Local Coaches and Technical Officials. International Coaches and Technical Officials such as Mr. Oscar Plattner, Mr. Gustar Killian, Mr. Ib Van Mansen and others were invited to conduct these Courses and Seminars. Most of our local Coaches and Technical Officials benefiltted greatly from these Courses and Seminars.
Between the period 1966 and 1979, a member of State Cycling Associations were formed. They included the States of Kedah, Johore, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perlis, Terengganu, Sarawak, Kelantan and Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur. Recently a new association was born i.e. the Labuan Cycling Association. The State of Sabah was in the process of forming an association then.
Once again in 1974, Malaysia hosted the 9th Asian Cycling Championships. The Road Events were held in Shah Alam while the Track Events were held in the Merdeka Stadium, Kuala Lumpur. The Malaysian Team managed to win 2 gold medals in this Championships in which 16 Countries took part.
In the Eighties saw the birth of 2 Velodromes, one in Ipoh City and the other in the Federal Capital of Kuala Lumpur. All these were due to the cries of the officials, riders and the supporters for a Velodrome as early as the Sixties. And now instead of one, we have 2 Velodromes which can be considered if not the best in the world, at least the best in this Region and which we hope will be fully utilized and not be regarded as ” White Elephants “.
We only had 4 affiliates in the Sixties but now the number has increased to 15 with the latest being the Labuan Cycling Association. We are in the process of assisting Sabah represented to form an Association and once this is achieved, the whole Country will have been represented in the MNCF.
Presently a number of Riders have been sent overseas to Europe and Australia for exposure and to undergo Scientific training. They were also equiped with the latest Modern Equipments with the assistance of well wishers. We hope that all those fortunate Riders will in return, render their services to the MNCF for the further development of the Sport of Cycling in Malaysia, when the time comes for them to retire from active cycling.
Malaysia has been a dominant force in Asian cycling since 1962. The first to win a medal was Jaafar Bibun, a Melaka born cyclist, who had raced on the same team with Datuk Abu Samah Wahab, the current President of the Malaysian Cycling Federation. Jaafar Bibun won a
bronze medal at the 1962 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia,.
A year later, in 1963, Ng Joo Pong, won a bronze medal in the Individual 1 km time trial at the Asian Cycling Championship in Malaya, later known as Malaysia. Ng Joo Pong, with teammates Hamzah Ahmad, Conrad Talalla and Andrew Michael, won the gold medal in the team
At the 1970 Asian Games in Bangkok, Ng Joo Ngan and Daud Ibrahim won the gold medal in the 1,600 meter mass start. Ng Joo Pong won the bronze medal.
In the SEAP Games ( the South East Asian Peninsula Games) in 1971, Daud Ibrahim , who was born in Muar, Johor, won the gold medal. He was also named Sportsman of the year in 1971.
Malaysian Daud Ibrahim was a dominant cyclist in the South East Asian region. At the Sea Games of 1977, he won five gold medals in the individual road events.
Meanwhile, Malaysia’s track cyclists were emerging as a force to be reckoned with. In 1987, Rosman Alwi won the gold medal at the Asian Championships in the 200 meter individual pursuit. He also qualified for both the 1984 Los Angeles 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.
At the South East Asian Games, cyclist M. Kumaresan won a total of 21 medals. Nine of them were gold. He also qualified to enter both the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games and 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. He was the first Malaysian to qualify for the point race
finals at the Olympics.
In the 90’s, Malaysia’s legacy continued with Nor Affandy Rosli winning the gold medal in the road race at the Asian Cycling
Championship in 1991.
In 1998, Malaysia hosted her first Commonwealth Games. Countries like Great Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Scotland had entered their best cyclists, like heavyweights Bradley Wiggins, Stuart O Grady, Jay Sweet, Eric Wohlberg, Greg Henderson and Michael
Rogers. Despite stiff competition, Malaysian rider, Nor Affandy Rosli surprised the field by winning the silver medal in the 184 km road race.
In the South East Asian region, Malaysia’s road cyclists have been most successful in the mass start events. They dominated by winning gold medals at the 1995 SEA Games in Chiengmai, Thailand, and the 1999 SEA games in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
As the 21st century dawned, the Malaysians continued to win numerous medals at the SEA Games. It was at the 2001 games in Kuala Lumpur that Malaysian cyclists captured a trifecta, winning gold, silver and bronze medals.
In 2005, Suhardi Hassn won a gold medal in the mass start event in the SEA Games in Manila, Philippines.
A few years later, at the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia, they took home a total of 13 gold medals, and went on to win a total of 26 medals in track and road events when the 2017 games returned to Malaysia.
That same year, Malaysia’s dominance in cycling went beyond the Asian region, when Mohd. Azizulhasni Awang won the bronze medal in the keirin competition at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.A year later, in 2017, he went on to become the first Malaysian to wear the rainbow jersey at the World Track Championship in Hong Kong, China, winning the World Title in Keirin.