ACU experts help Malaysian cycling star to historic bronze medal

Friday, 19 August 2016

Olympics Malaysia cycling Azizul

When Azizulhasni Awang claimed the bronze medal in the men’s keirin final, becoming the first Malaysian to win an Olympic medal in track cycling, there was a roar of celebration coming from ACU’s School of Exercise Science.

The Melbourne-based Malaysian cycling star has spent the past 12 months working with experts from ACU’s School of Exercise Science and the Centre for Exercise and Nutrition in the pursuit of Olympic history and a coveted place on the podium in Rio.

Partnering with the National Sports Institute of Malaysia, the School of Exercise Science was tasked with assisting in preparing the 28-year-old for his third Olympic Games campaign, drawing on expertise in nutrition, strength and power testing  and strength training program design  to find the edge that saw Azizul improve from a sixth place finish at the 2012 London Olympics.

Head of the School of Exercise Science, Professor Justin Kemp, said the partnership with Azizul and Malaysia was a shining example of the industry-leading knowledge and skills possessed at ACU.

“What we have here in the School of Exercise Science is a team of people with expertise coveted by high performance sporting organisations the world over,” Professor Kemp said.

“This partnership has allowed us to showcase the mix of expertise in nutrition, strength training, exercise physiology and performance, and the state-of-the art facilities, we have in the School of Exercise Science at ACU”.

“Track cycling is a developing sport in Malaysia and through our collaboration with the National Sports Institute of Malaysia, we have been able to provide Azizul with the best in sports science advice and support.”

As part of the partnership, School of Exercise Science experts worked with Azizul and his support team led by his Australian coach John Beasley, providing a range of strength and power testing, tailored training programs, and nutritional planning.

The ACU team supporting Azizul consisted of experts in their respective fields, led by Dr Stuart Cormack, with the support of ACU PhD candidate Paul Tofari, bringing decades of experience in high performance sport at AFL and Olympic level.

From a nutrition perspective, experienced Performance Dietitian and ACU PhD candidate Benita Lalor worked alongside Jill Leckey from the ACU’s Centre for Exercise and Nutrition, providing detailed dietary planning that included training and race day nutrition strategies.

This support network were thrilled to see Azizul claim his bronze medal, knowing they had played a role in helping the Malaysian cycling star create Olympic history.

“To see the elation on Azizul’s face when he finished the race, and the joy when he stood on the podium was something we are very proud to be a part of,” Professor Kemp said.

“For the School of Exercise Science, we have these type of consultancy partnerships with a range of high performance sport organisations both here and aboard, allowing us to showcase our expertise and expand our reputation as a world leader in sports science delivery.”

Learn more about the research expertise and course offerings at ACU’s School of Exercise Science.