World title target for Singapore’s Riyadh Hakim after joining a professional cycling team

2 weeks ago 34

Updated

Apr 03, 2024, 09:28 PM

Published

Apr 03, 2024, 09:21 PM

SINGAPORE – Since clinching bronze at the Asian Mountain Bike Championships in October, Riyadh Hakim has gone from strength to strength, inking a three-year deal with a professional cycling team at the start of 2024.

The 24-year-old is also part of the inaugural batch of spexPotential Award recipients announced on April 2. The award is part of Singapore’s High Performance Sports system that provides holistic and personalised support to athletes.

Riyadh said: “I tried to apply for the scholarship for the past three years and never got it, but now with the spexPotential, I’ll take whatever support I can get because it’s not easy to be an athlete in Singapore.

“What I have now is basically very minimal support from the federation, just for us to go to big races such as the SEA Games and the Asian championships, but in terms of monthly support and equipment, we will have to find our own.”

His new team, Asia Union TCS, is the first and only UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) registered team in Asia and he is training alongside some of the region’s best, including Indonesia’s two-time SEA Games gold medallist Sayu Bella and Japan’s 2022 cross-country eliminator (XCE) national champion Yuta Matsumoto.

The team is led by manager Kohei Yamamoto, who is a 10-time Asian Championship winner and four-time Olympian.

Although the team’s staff is based in Japan, their riders will continue to train with their respective national teams in their home countries.

“We are still trying to look for the best optimised programme, because our race calendar is quite packed, so I’m not sure how it will be for u...

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