Malaysian Olympic silver medalist ‘Pocket Rocketman’ has heart surgery

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 3 – Tokyo Olympics silver medalist cyclist Azizulhasni Awang has said he was given a “second chance” at life after the 34-year-old Malaysian underwent open-heart surgery .

Azizul will sit out the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games later this year after undergoing surgery last month, but is still aiming to win a first Malaysian Olympic gold medal at Paris 2024, local media reported.

Nicknamed the “Pocket Rocketman” due to his short stature and explosive power, Azizul is the first and only Malaysian cyclist to win an Olympics medal.

He first complained of chest pain in February and underwent surgery in Australia late last month.

“In my case, this year, Allah has truly given me a second chance to celebrate this glorious day again, God willing,” he said in a tweet on Sunday during Eid festivities marking the end. of Ramadan.

The cyclist, who also won bronze in the men’s keirin at Rio 2016, said in another tweet on Monday that 2022 had been a “roller coaster ride”.

“There are times when it’s like getting a big hit that knocks me down with my tongue out,” he wrote.

Ahmad Faedzal Ramli, chief executive of the national sports institute, told The Star newspaper that Azizul consulted them for a second opinion and it was decided he needed to undergo surgery soon.

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“This heart disease is very rare and the Australian specialist had advised him to undergo corrective heart surgery because otherwise the risk of cardiac arrest was very high,” he said.

Azizul had an abnormal aortic origin of the right coronary artery, a birth defect, The Star said.

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