National weighlifter Mohamad Aniq Kasdan (File Photo)
01/11/2023 04:46 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 1 (Bernama) -- National weightlifter Mohamad Aniq Kasdan wants to make his selection into the Road To Gold (RTG) programme a ‘stepping stone’ in the country’s hunt for the inaugural gold medal at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games in France.

The 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games gold medallist, however, admitted that he never expected to be listed in the programme and now bears the heavy responsibility to repay the trust placed in him by the RTG committee.

“I was surprised but elated because I would have access to many facilities. I am sure that this selection is also a catalyst for my other comrades to work together as much as possible after this to raise the sport of weightlifting.

“However, I still do not know when I will meet up with the RTG community… probably soon,” Mohamad Aniq, who also won bronze at the 2023 World Weightlifting Championships in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in September, told Bernama today.

Asked about the facilities that he will seek in the RTG programme, the 21-year-old said he wants to get support services such as masseur services that are more consistent every time he participates in international tournaments from the National Sports Institute (ISN).

Mohamad Aniq said there are still three more Olympic qualifying tournaments that he will compete in, namely the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Grand Prix II in Doha, Qatar (Dec 4-14);  the Asian Weightlifting Championship in Uzbekistan (Feb 3-10, 2024); and the IWF World Cup in Phuket, Thailand (April 2-12, 2024).

Meanwhile, Malaysian Weightlifting Federation (MWF) president Datuk Ayub Rahmat is grateful that Mohamad Aniq’s achievements on the international stage have ‘opened the eyes’ of the RTG committee to include the sport.

He said the selection would definitely add value to the existing services enjoyed by the national weightlifters, who have already been in the Podium Programme since 2022.

“This certainly provides motivation and the necessary training space because we did get help from the National Sports Council, but the MWF is a small association that uses its own limited funds, so this achievement proves that we are also capable of greater success,” he said.

The RTG committee yesterday announced Mohamad Aniq, who is currently ranked 10th in the Olympic ranking, is the only new athlete to join the 14 existing athletes on the RTG list.

Some of those already on the RTG list are track cycling champion Datuk Azizulhasni Awang, men’s doubles shuttlers Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik and diving queen Datuk Pandelela Rinong.

RTG is an elite athlete programme launched in March to win the country’s elusive first Olympic gold medals in Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028.