Malaysian sprinter Azizulhasni Awang is all too aware of the dangers of track sprinting.
Back in 2011, Awang suffered a gruesome crash when a 20cm splinter pierced his leg during a World Cup Keirin in Manchester.
That injury was the first thing on the 31-year-old’s mind when he crashed in again in the Keirin during the Brisbane World Cup round on Saturday (December 14).
Awang was taken down on the final lap of the race as two of his rivals collided just above him on the track, all three riders crashing at 70km/h.
In a series of Instagram posts from his hospital bed, Awang said: “In my heart, I just prayed that no wood would pierce my skin like it did in 2011.
“I moaned in pain, unable to breath because of the crash and being hit by a rider behind me at a speed of at least 70km/h.
“When I write this post, I’m still in the hospital, on the bed after having an X-ray and MRI scan. Currently waiting for news from doctors and the medical team a t Princess Alexandra Hospital emergency room.”
Awang walked away from the trackside and was taken to hospital in Brisbane where he underwent tests.
He wanted to continue racing, but after being examined by paramedics at the track he was told he would need further checks in hospital.
Recounting the crash, Awang added: “When the bell rang, marking one more lap, I tried to rush forward to cut off the Polish riders in front. While trying to make the cut, the Japanese riders who came from behind also tried to accelerate forward and caused me to collide with the Polish riders.
“It’s common in the world of bike racing, especially in the Keirin.
“Everyone wants to win and that’s why sometimes things don’t go their way – that is the beauty of the sport.”
Fortunately, Awang didn’t suffer any major injuries in the crash.
His 2011 crash has become a part of track cycling history, after his leg was skewered by a spike of Siberian pine.
Miraculously he was able to remount and ride to a third place finish with the splinter still through his leg, before he collapsed in agony and was taken away by stretcher.