The gold escaped him, but national track cyclist Azizulhasni Awang was still able to clinch a hard-earned silver medal for Malaysia in the men’s keirin event at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday.
Defending champion Jason Kenny of Britain, who was the first rider behind the derny in the final, launched a vicious long-range attack early on and caught out the rest of the field at the Izu Velodrome in Shizuoka.
Tournament favourite Harrie Lavreysen of the Netherlands gave chase with Azizulhasni in tow, but Kenny had opened up a substantial gap by the bell and would not be caught.
Azizulhasni was able to catch up with Lavreysen and pipped him to the line to take silver.
Jair Tjon En Fa (Surinam), Matthew Glaetzer (Australia) and Max Levy (Germany) settled for fourth, fifth and sixth in the final.
Azizulhasni had earlier won his semi-final heat ahead of Levy and Lavreysen, who came in second and third.
Ryan Helal (Frace) and Yuta Wakimoto (Japan) were fourth and fifth, while Nicholas Paul (Trinidad and Tobago) was disqualified for an infringement.
The Dungun-born rider had come in second behind Wakimoto in his quarter-final heat.
Azizulhasni, nicknamed the Pocket Rocketman, and also known as the “showman of the event” has improved from bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympic (his first medal) to silver this time around.
He failed to qualify for the keirin final in Beijing while he finished sixth at the 2012 London Games.