Sabah cycling newcomer stuns everyone with win
Published on: Wednesday, September 11, 2019
By: GL Oh
KOTA KINABALU: Chika Cherryca Chia, a former track and field athlete from Kota Marudu, found herself standing on an unfamiliar podium during the National Track Championship held at the National Velodrome in Nilai, Negeri Sembilan last week.
It was an inspiration story by the 17-year-old green horn who never rode a track bicycle nor set foot on a velodrome before.
She practically knew nothing about track cycling until about five months ago and then went on to stun everyone by winning two silver medals at the competition.
Despite the success, she was a wee bit disappointed for not winning the gold medal.
“It was like a dream. While I am glad to be on the podium, I am not satisfied (with my success). The gold medal was so close. I know I can improve more for the Sukma 2020,” she said.
She joined the Cycology Sabah Racing Team only in April and relocated to Kuala Lumpur for her training.
According to her, it was at times engaging, fun but also gruelling as they spent most of the time at the gym, velodrome, hyperbaric chamber and the road. She said vomiting was the norm when they were engaged in very grueling sessions.
“Homesickness and injuries were tough on me too. When I wanted to give up, I have to remind myself why I came here in the first place.
“My dad is still recovering from a stroke two years ago and I am determined to make my family proud. Life is not easy for us so, I want to inspire my sisters and parents that we can turn our lives around.”
Her flying 200m time which improved from 14.2s in March, 13.3s in June to 12.5s in the National Championship did just that.
Behind her success was a dedicated team of coaches, physiotherapist, nutritionist and sports physiologist who are all committed to Chika’s success.
They found solutions to Chika’s hamstring injuries and neck issues. Teammates and coaches rallied around her like a family to support and encourage her.
“To get the best out of Chika, we came up with a personalised training programme that is quite different from the rest of the team. The more we understand Chika, the better we are at unlocking her potentials,” said Sabah track cycling coach, Louis Pang.
“Chika is a talent. I have not come across anyone who improve very rapidly. She is an intelligent student of the sport. She takes coaching points seriously and applies it in her training. She spends a lot of time watching videos so that she could improve her performance. It is certainly a joy to work with her.”
Chika’s athletics background in the 100m and long jump has also aided her transition into track cycling.
She credited her former coaches in SMK Bandau for giving her a solid foundation in sports.
Meanwhile, Sabah continue to raise eyebrows in the national track cycling scene. Last year, they had Arni Sanuddin who won a gold medal in Keirin while Chika, two silvers this year. Both women are newcomers to the track cycling sport.
At the recent Malaysian National Track Championship, Sabah won seven medals:
Gold, Waldron Chee, Men Junior, Point Race
Silver, Waldron Chee, Men Junior, Omnium
Silver, Chika Cherryca Chia, Women Junior, Keirin
Silver, Chika Cherryca Chia, Women Junior, Sprint
Silver, Lim Chun Kiat, Men Elite, Individual Pursuit
Bronze, Darren Chong, Men Junior, Scratch Race
Bronze, Bong Yong Xian, Darren Chong, Lim Chun Kiat, Waldron Chee, Men Elite, Team Pursuit.