Beasley's take on national cycling scene.

Below is an article written by national cycling coach John Beasley and his opinion about cycling in the country. At least some people are willing to share their knowledge and expertise for free.
Act now or risk the death of a sport: A coach’s assessment of Cycling within Malaysia.

It has come to a point now that London has passed whereby we must begin to plan for 2016. Planning for the next games is essential, and in small ways has been happening before these games even occurred as if you only plan for one games at a time with all your focus, then you will left playing catch up when you lose a crop of stars.
This is the exact dilemma we face with track cycling, and cycling in general right at this minute. We currently have a great group (Josiah Ng, Azizul Awang, Rizal Tisin, Fatehah Mustapa, Edrus Yunos, Adiq Othman, Amir Mustafa Rusli), but several of them are almost at the end of their careers. Most will make it to Rio 2016 and still be strong, but who comes after these great riders have finished?
After some really hard pushing finally we have been able to get our best development riders to Melbourne for a decent training camp leading into junior worlds.
Despite the ability of these riders at present, they are still a long way from being competitive on the senior circuit, and when we look at our counterparts such as Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Germany and Great Britain all of them already have guys that can step straight out of junior worlds and into the senior circuit. This issue may seem small, but it actually points to a major one for us, how do we ever catch up and really give ourselves a chance?
There is a way, and it will be covered throughout this paper, however, the main problem we have is that I have done several of these papers and we are stuck at one aspect, action. Everybody says yes, but when will our governing body make things happen. The government have supported us well, the sports council too, but we are falling down at a critical stage. The following comments will be my identification of issues and suggestions for resolution so that we may bridge the gap so to speak.

The issues:
1.) The biggest issue we have at present concerns the development of our next generation of riders. Where are they coming from? At present we rely on a system whereby kids are selected to enroll in sports schools based on sports that were assigned to them. Whilst in theory this seems logical (E.g. you have long limbs so you will be a rower) it also breeds problems (Will discuss this point further next). We do not currently have a structure whereby kids who have been cyclists all their lives are actually going on to become cyclists as professionals. Let’s look at 2 models.

Junior club cycling for your town (All riders are exposed to good fundamental early)

Cycling for your region (start to begin being competitive against fellow talented riders in your discipline)

Cycling for your state (Compete against the very best from around the country, and have even higher level coaching)

Cycling for the national program (selected to go into the institute of sport system and exposed to the best coaching available)

Selection in elite squad (compete internationally with the best riders from the country)


No junior club system at all (so here we see no learning of the sport, and thus no experience or chance to develop passion to be great)

Get selected for sport school (Get some coaching but already under experienced)

Assigned to sport based on fitness testing essentially and then selected into back-up program (Essentially beginning to learn the basics of cycling here)

Selection for elite program in Melbourne (expected to be able to win Olympic medals here. At this point there has been minimal physical training and development. Limited race experience. Almost know tactical development as exposure to high-level racing has been minimal, and thus it is hard to even qualify to compete at a world cup)

*What we see as the difference between the 2 models is that essentially we are relying on the lucky eye of a sports school coach to spot potential talent. This method is o.k thus far, but limiting for 2 reasons.
A.) It limits the number of coaches we have around the country as a start, so there is less experienced eyes to even see let alone work with talent.
B.) The actual population pool from which we have to select young talent is greatly compromised.

2.) So development is the number 1 issue, but the issue creating that is that there is no infrastructure for development. How does a Malaysian who sees Azizul on T.V become the next Azizul? Where does he go to begin to try and realize his dreams? The answer, at present, is nowhere. The federation has agreed that it is integral to have club racing set-up so that all Malaysians can be exposed to all disciplines of racing (BMX, Mountain Bike, Road, Track) yet we have no clear direction for our youth to go in.
3.) In addition to still having no club racing (An issue that has been flagged for at least 2 years now) we see our federation expending all of their resources on the Tour De Langkawi. I am not saying this is a bad event, far from it in fact. However, this event is seeing everybody focus on this and not on the issues that actually allow us to put riders into such an event. The base of the development pyramid is being neglected, and thus it is almost reliant upon luck for us to be able to put riders into such an event. We had BMX riders essentially funding their own way through a qualification process last year, and we have stories of young Sukma BMX winners talking about how their coach built them a make shift track out of dirt so they could practice. What state of affairs are we in when we are left to rely on coaches to develop infrastructure? Is that not a role for the federation? BMX may not be a key sport in Malaysia, but if you look at Great Britain they spend resources on it, and were able to transfer a star like Sir Chris Hoy into the track, as well as Jamie Staff. Both of those guys are Olympic gold medalists, but came from BMX backgrounds. If they didn’t have clubs and tracks, who knows if Great Britain would have ever found them.
4.) The assignment of athletes to the sport rather than exposure to the sport, and them having a choice is potentially influencing work ethic. Instead of having a stack of riders fuelled by the desire to be a champion, we are currently getting many riders (some even in elite program) fuelled by the desire to make financial gain. When this happens we begin to see athletes become solely motivated by money, and thus will be very unlikely to be successful in this sport.
5.) Our federation are heavily involved in high performance, but few have any actual qualifications or experience in this field. The high performance aspect of sport needs to be entrusted to the people employed to do that job, so as to allow the federation to continue to grow the sport at grass roots and events level.
6.) It would appear that the federation are extremely caught up with road cycling, and whilst this is o.k. to an extent, I fear they have forgotten they are in charge of all disciplines of cycling.
7.) I have tried my best to address these issues with our federation, up until this point, yet we have had little success getting them to build our sport of cycling within Malaysia. Until they start to fulfill their role in this area it will be hard to continue to have success in cycling as we just do not have a quality supply of cyclists coming through.
8.) How do the riders who aren’t in the elite program improve? At present there is no real local racing to hone their skills. We have SUKMA and SEA game, but this is not regular competition. We are missing the guys who are in between junior and elite. They are actually best suited to making a quick transition to senior riding.
9.) Unfortunately for us we have a race called the Tour de Langkawi, and it seems that most of the staff with in the federation invest so much time hosting this event that there is no or very little time left and spent on growing the grass roots of our sport of cycling with in Malaysia.
10.) We do not have enough emphasis on coach development. So in effect the coaches assigned with role of developing what few athletes we do have, are grossly few in numbers and experience.

Solutions and steps to move the sport forward: How do we avoid cycling death?

Things that need to happen for us to become more successful in cycling are not hard to achieve, we just need direction from the ministry of sport in Malaysia stating what the roles and responsibilities of governing bodies and federations are within Malaysia. As all of the money comes from there, I feel it is their responsibility to write it up in a document and make people accountable for these tasks. When there is accountability as the foundation of change then the cycling federation should have to supply the ministry with a plan and vision, time-lined for the development and growth of our sport as well as the promotion of it.
This plan and actions taken should be reviewed annually in order to keep the funding. If they do a good job then more funding should be made available, if they fail to deliver then cuts in funding should occur.

We do not currently have any active cycling clubs as yet operating in Malaysia; all of our cyclists come from a sports school that local coaches pick. The problem (as discussed) with this system is that the athlete might not want to be a cyclist, even though they are chosen to be one. This allocation causes lots of problems for us as we have cyclists within our program that do not love our sport; they are involved because they have been chosen to be one more than anything else. This is issue of choice is why we need another avenue/stream to become involved in cycling through a club system, as people join cycling clubs because they love the sport, and this is where we will start to get a massive change in the work ethic as these athletes want to become top international level cyclists, or at least be as good as they can possibly become.
This can only happen when we have cycling clubs, and when these clubs get supported to promote local races on a very consistent basis. By this I mean hold a club race at least once a week in each of there regions.

The difference between our sport of cycling and badminton for example is that people play badminton because they love it, they play in the street, there are even clubs that provide local competition for people to compete to further their skills. People play this sport because they love it.
They also have competitions from a club level though to regional, state and national, from there international. The point being, badminton players have a clear and established pathway, cycling could benefit a great deal from a similar structure.

In addition to the work ethic issue that can be bred from people being allocated to cycling, as opposed to selecting it, there is also the issue of rider quality. If we have greater numbers of races for greater numbers of riders then this will see only the best rise to the top, and the standard of competition improve across the country.
When the standard improves the athletes coming through will have less work to do just to get to an acceptable standard for international racing, as they will already have acquired some fundamental skills. Equally, when we have more local racing and more riders, then we have a greater chance of finding a special athlete, as more people are involved. There are more riders to pick from, and thus more chance of having quality riders within that bunch. Until we can rectify this huge issue, we will always struggle to build a world-class program within Malaysia.

I cannot believe that we are so competitive in the field of cycling, when we compete against countries that have such strong sporting cultures, and club based systems with thousands of registered racing club based cyclists in all disciplines of sport. It really is amazing what we have been able to do thus far, but imagine how much more we could achieve by making small changes nationally. How can the cyclists improve if they do not get access to regular racing? How can riders improve if they race against a very small group of the same cyclists all the time? How do they learn their tactics, you can never train as hard as you race.

We need our National Sports Council to be in charge of high performance sport in Malaysia, we need our federations to provide races and support to cycling clubs. We need the federations to go into schools and get sporting programs to be a part of the sporting curriculum. We need to get cycling infrastructure built around the country, just basic ones, BMX tracks, velodromes (not even big roofed ones, outdoor concrete is fine) and MTB courses. We also must set up clubs around the country to host and facilitate the growth of the sport and to service their members, through hosting local racing on a regular basis, at least once a week.

National Sports Council of Malaysia duties.

Every thing to do with high performance cycling in Malaysia, starting off with road and track cycling, once we get numbers in other cycling community’s that have good numbers and lots of racing we can then look at BMX and MTB.
NSC – deliver a high performance training and competition program so that the high performers of sport can be guided and nurtured to reach their goals.
HD says: Hopefully some people will take the time to read this.


  1. True in a way.. the only issue now is how can he say NSC to take charge or everything???!!!!
    Mat Salleh ni memang pandai BODEK.... I lose my respect for you already Mr Beasley..Get you facts right before u comment about NSC!
    NSC already have a cycling program for a while to certain local coaches or trainers that produce Fatehah, Rizal etc ( U know who they are. With them everyday, keeping the cyclist at bay and supporting the cyclist all the time).. NOT NSC.. They/ Zol only know who to "support". Cycling quite lucky in a way because of Zol's relationships with Naim. Other Sports Associations are suffering because of NSC. And still, Cycling still no medal from Olympics.
    Looking at the current scenario, we wont win a medal in Olympics... Keep on dreaming!

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