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'Malaysian cyclists can become world champions'

LANGKAWI: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today expressed his confidence that Malaysian road cyclists have the potential to become world champions, including competing in the famed Tour de France.

The success shown by national cyclists in the just concluded Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) 2020, said Dr Mahathir, proved that Malaysians have the ability to compete with the world’s best.

"This year is the 25th edition of LTdL, the highest level cycling race in the country. For the first time, I am seeing a Malaysian rider (Muhamad Nur Aiman Mohd Zariff of Team Sapura Cycling) wearing the red jersey (King of the Mountain).

“This shows that we have the necessary ability.. what is important is to train regularly until the next race comes along.

“I hope they (national cyclists) will achieve better success and go on to become world-class champions, and compete in the Tour de France and other races,” he said after the end of LTdL’s eighth and final stage in Kuah, here, today.

Also present was Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman.

Dr Mahathir hoped LTdL will continue to be organised in the future as the race has garnered worldwide following and media publicity.

“One of the reasons we organised the LTdL is because it gets television coverage in many countries. Viewers from these countries will get to watch and know our country and places such as Sabah, Sarawak and Terengganu and this is good advertisement to attract potential tourists,” he said.

“As this year is Visit Malaysia 2020 (VM2020), we hope many (tourists) will visit our country, but right now we are faced with the Covid-19 situation. We will now shift our focus to the Western nations, Middle East and American markets.

“We will also encourage and promote domestic tourism as those who had plans to visit China, Japan and Korea now are unable to do so. Our hotels will get to enjoy the benefits when they decide to holiday domestically,” the prime minister said. -- BERNAMA

New Straits Times, 14 February 2020

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