As BMX’s popularity continues to surge, making headway to create a lasting community footprints, the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) is trying to appeal to a younger audience and engage future generations.
This extreme sport is becoming bigger, with BMX racing being added to the Olympics since 2008, the dedication and participation can be seen more explosively from the local cycling community. Therefore, more talented and professional athletes are also taking their effort and discipline more seriously.
Recently, these two breakout talents, Siti Shahirah Binti Hashim (Siti) and Saniy Syahmi Bin Mohd Safiee (Saniy) are making their names in the BMX sphere, and at the age of just 18 and 19, they are set to become Malaysia’s great hopes for the future of BMX racing.
With the Tokyo 2020 just around the corner, these two BMX rising stars, who hail from Dungun, Terengganu, will be putting Malaysia on the map of Ready Steady Tokyo in this coming October.
IT’S ALL THRILL AND ADRENALINE RUSH FROM HERE
When did you start BMX?
Siti: I started BMX in 2014.
Saniy: I started BMX in 2013.
Why did you choose BMX?
Siti: After the first try of BMX, I’ve developed an interest in the sport. With the encouragement and support from my family, I’ve fallen even deeper for BMX until today. I also love extreme sports.
Saniy: Before getting to know about BMX, I used to play basketball and football. After that, my friends asked me out to ride a BMX, and I was hooked ever since. I have been loving the sport until now. I love BMX because I can learn about different techniques.
What led you to joining the Terengganu State Team?
Siti: After riding with KT Cycling Community, Team KTCC Punca Cipta, Zimie Cycling Barber, and Focal Cycling Club, I was called by my current coach, Mohd Arif Syukri to join the Terengganu State Team because of my performance. Although I am still a junior in the State Team, I am happy that I was given an opportunity to grow and improve.
Saniy: I have been riding together with Siti from KT Cycling Community and Team KTCC Punca Cipta to Terengganu State Team.
Can you tell me something about your achievements to date?
Siti: The best result so far I obtained was a third placing in the Asian BMX Cycling Championships 2018 (Women Junior). Besides that, I have also competed in numerous international races, such as BMX Banyuwangi Indonesia 2018, Asia Moutain Bike Series 4 2018 (Sarawak), Asia Mountain Bike Series 3 2018 (Sabah), Asia Mountain Bike Series 3 2018 (Phillipines), BMX Korea Cup 2018, and BMX Australia National Series 2018.
Saniy: My best achievement was the participation in the Asian BMX Cycling Championships when I was 16 years old. After that, I have competed and secured top 5 in several international races, including UCI C1 BMX Korea Open, BMX C1 Australia National Series, UCI C1 Chanburi Thailand Open, and more.
RACING IS ABOUT PUSHING LIMITS
What is your training regime?
Siti: We train almost every day. In order to improve ranking in UCI, we have to train hard every day. Most of the time, we train on BMX track in Terengganu. However, we incorporate strength training, cross fitting, lift weighting into our training program.
Saniy: We train together. Sometimes, we do road cycling and downhill mountain biking. At this moment, we focus more on BMX sprinting, leading up to Pre-Tokyo 2020.
How do you feel about your current UCI World Ranking in BMX?
Siti: Currently, my ranking is 26th in UCI World Ranking BMX. The feeling is unexplainable, at the same time, excited. I can’t imagine that I am ranked 26th in World Ranking.
Saniy: I still think I have more room for improvement. I am always looking up to my senior riders.
What are your biggest challenges in racing?
Siti: For me, the biggest challenge is to beat the other BMX riders from European countries. In Europe, there are more advance BMX facilities. Therefore, BMX riders get the opportunities to have better training ground. Nevertheless, this won’t be an excuse to not train hard.
Saniy: I would say, we have been facing the same challenges. We can’t deny that there are more advantages for the European riders, like having more complete sports facilities. BMX is considered a new sport in Malaysia, so we do not have as complete facilities and training programs like theirs.
How do you help each other?
Siti: We learn from each other’s skills. My strength is BMX dirt jumps. I can jump really high.
Saniy: Every rider in the team acquires different techniques. My strongest skill is also BMX dirt jumps. It is not easy to master huge dirt jumps. Higher jumps also benefit the riders’ speeds in a race. Not everyone in BMX is able to perform huge jumps.
READY STEADY TOKYO
How is your preparation for the Ready Steady Tokyo?
Siti: Apart from BMX training, we also need to acclimatize to the weather in Tokyo. Weather will be cooler and drier in Japan. Also, I have to be more prepared for the technical course in Ready Steady Tokyo. Although the competitors will be fitter and stronger, I am very excited to be competing there, because it will be my first time in Tokyo.
Saniy: Acclimatization is one of the core preparations for us. We are so used to racing in tropical countries, so it will be one of the challenges to be competing in Tokyo with a lower temperature. Besides that, I have to improve my fitness and endurance. BMX is not just about skills, it is also a full-body sport. But, I am still very excited and looking forward to the race.
What are your goals for this year?
Siti: One of my main targets for this year is to go into final for the Ready Steady Tokyo.
Saniy: I am targeting to go into final for the Ready Steady Tokyo too. It won’t be an easy race, as there will be professional and more experienced riders.
What is your ambition?
Siti: I want to be the top athlete, not only in Malaysia, but also in the world.
Saniy: I hope I could be like my idol, Azizulhasni Awang. I want to be like him, race in the World Championships and make the country proud.
Is there anyone who has particularly helped you in your racing career?
Siti: Yes. I would love to thank my only one coach, Majlis Sukan Negeri Terengganu (MSNT), Persatuan Lumba Basikal Terengganu (PLBT), BMX Malaysia for helping us to reach our goals.
Saniy: I would love to extend my gratitude to Majlis Sukan Negeri Terengganu (MSNT), Persatuan Lumba Basikal Terengganu (PLBT), BMX Malaysia, my family, and my coach for supporting.
THE FACES BEHIND BMX MALAYSIA
Ready Steady Tokyo, organized by Tokyo 2020, is a part of the Test Events programmes, and is a great opportunity for National Federations (NFs) and athletes to familiarise themselves with the Field of Play of the Ariake Urban Sports Park, venue of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Ready Steady Tokyo – Cycling BMX Racing is scheduled from 9 to 15 October 2019.