SINGAPORE – After a successful stint in Europe where he reached three podiums, national mountain biker Riyad Hakim Lukman brought his fine form home, winning a national title three weeks after returning to Singapore.
He clocked a time of 2 minutes 10,466 seconds to win the Men’s Open category at the 2021 OCBC Urban MTB Cross-Country National Cycling Championships – individual time trial on Saturday November 27th. He was five seconds ahead of Farouk Effendy Bujang (2: 15.944). Sathya Simman Chockalingam (2: 17.174) finished third.
The event, the first of its kind here, saw the field of 147 athletes run on a 1km course set up around the Singapore Sports Hub. The course included obstacles such as stairs, a crank course and rollers. Each cyclist had to complete one lap.
The 23-year-old from Riyadh was happy with his result, especially since he only resumed training last week after a short break. He had spent three months since mid-August training and competing in Europe, where he became the first Singaporean to step onto a podium in an International Cycling Union Mountain Bike World Cup ( UCI). He returned to Singapore earlier this month.
He said: âHaving such a short race is a good way to start again and I’m very happy to win on local soil. It’s good to see my progress after my training (in Europe) and to move forward , I’m excited to go on and see what happens.
“It was difficult because there is that part where there is a climb with three flights of stairs and it’s a different format because you’re just running against yourself, against the clock.”
Riyadh has mainly hosted playoff races in Europe, which consist of four riders competing on the course at the same time.
But to cut down on the time cyclists spent nearby, the Singapore Cycling Federation opted for the first time for an individual time trial format where competitors entered the course one after another. Other Covid-19 security measures saw the field of 19 categories split into three waves. All participants had to be fully immunized or return a valid negative result on the pre-event test.
Before the event, Riyadh admitted that he felt a bit of pressure as he knew that all eyes would be on him after his success in Europe, but to keep the mindset and practices he acquired there. helped him stay focused.
He said: âEveryone knows you’re in good shape and they want to beat you. I was pretty nervous but after seeing the times I felt a little more comfortable and decided to focus on my own race rather than the things that I can’t control.
âI made sure I warmed up well and had a good breakfast (two egg and chicken wraps her mom made and a granola bar) because I learned that nutrition is very important. In Europe I’ve always been full – push mode during races and I had the same mentality during this race too. “
Bujang, second on the Harding MTB Racing Team, said he was blessed to be able to race against younger riders such as Riyadh, whom he admires.
The 33-year-old, who has been mountain biking for four years, said: “I didn’t expect to win or finish second because everyone is very fast. He’s our national champion and I’m really happy that he has the opportunity to go abroad and train to reach a higher level.
“I hope that other young cyclists will follow in his footsteps and that he will continue to promote the sport.”
The surveyor also hopes that more mountain biking events will be held next year to motivate recreational cyclists like him to challenge and improve.
Singapore Cycling Federation (MTB) vice-president Muhammad Faroz Marzoki hopes to double or even triple the number of events held next year. The SCF has hosted five national championships for the road and mountain biking disciplines this year, including Saturday’s event.
Faroz, 33, said: “I am happy that we are ending the year on a high note by providing the community with a safe and secure event. Holding this in the heart of Kallang where there are passers-by will help more people. to know the sport and maybe even give it a try.
“It also helps to raise awareness of the sport as we want more young riders and women to be involved. Having more events will also help us to raise awareness in the community as we can more easily spot talent and help them fit into the right programs. . “