Never has the saying, “Pain and Glory” been so true as to what I witnessed on Saturday evening at the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Manchester. As the men’s Keirin got underway I was working just up from the start/finish line, in track centre. The race got underway and all went as expected until the final lap. As I focused on Sir Chris Hoy, of Sky Track Cycling, flying down the final straight, I’m became aware of a commotion on the final corner. Tv crews and photographers ran to the end, to see the carnage of a crash which had taken out the rest of the field.
As Hoy passed again on, arm raised saluting the crowd, the Malaysian rider Azizulhasni Awang passed, his uniform in tatters, I quickly fired a number of frames as he passed, and then turned my focus on Edward Dawkins from New Zealand, who had collapsed on the finish line.
Moment’s later I turned to see Awang as he also collapsed in to the arms of a team official. Then I saw the splinter, which had penetrated right through his left leg, emerging on the other side.
Awang had managed to pick himself up, and finish the race, to take the Bronze Medal, with a splinter from the track in his leg. It has to be one of the most incredible medal win’s of cycling history.