Myanmar crash cycling party

Thant Thiha Dway rounding a corner in the OCBC Cycle Speedway South-east Asia Championship yesterday. Myanmar were only the fourth quickest team but won as the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore all incurred infringements.
Thant Thiha Dway rounding a corner in the OCBC Cycle Speedway South-east Asia Championship yesterday. Myanmar were only the fourth quickest team but won as the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore all incurred infringements.PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES

They are shock winners of Speedway title as Malaysia fall in qualifying, others penalised

No problem, that was Malaysia captain Anuar Manan's confident pronouncement about winning the OCBC Cycle Speedway South-east Asia Championship yesterday.

But the favourites tumbled even before the final when one of their four men, Muhammad Elmi, crashed at a roundabout during the qualification race, resulting in their failure to advance.

It was left to the unfancied team from Myanmar to post a shock victory, pipping last year's champions the Philippines.

There was still plenty of drama left in the day. Even though Myanmar were not the quickest in the final, 20min 40.317sec, they topped the standings because of time penalties imposed on the Filipino, Thai and Singaporean sides for infringements during the dismounting and mounting of bicycles.

In the Speedway Championship, each team are split into pairs and each pair cover five laps on a flat 1km stretch along Stadium Drive.

Philippines ended up runners-up in 20:49.680, after a 10-second penalty, while Thailand were third on 20:49.907, also after a similar penalty. Singapore were fourth in 20:59.737 with a 20-second penalty.

Myanmar team manager and coach Aung Myo Naing said: "It is an amazing feeling to have won our first title.

"We did not expect to win today as the other teams have better sprinters than us, but thankfully we had a clean changeover in the transit area."

Philippines team captain Cris Largo Jovan lamented: "I am disappointed as we were expecting to come in first in the race.

"One of our riders dismounted wrongly and we were penalised."

Added Malaysia team manager Mohd Rizal Tisin: "The competition this year was good and we had very strong competitors... We will also be more careful and come back stronger next year."

In the OCBC Cycle Speedway Club Championship, local club Specialized Roval Mavericks regained the title they won in 2016. They had finished runners-up last year.

Yesterday, they ended ahead of Allied World Kemp Technologies and MatadorRacing, who finished second and third, respectively.

The OCBC Cycle continues today with the Community Rides, which will see cyclists participate in The Straits Times Ride (23km) and the Sportive Ride (40.8km) held at the Sports Hub.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 06, 2018, with the headline 'Myanmar crash cycling party'. Print Edition | Subscribe