Aussie cyclist cops disgusting abuse in ugly Olympics controversy

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·Sports Editor
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Matthew Glaetzer and Mohd Azizulhasni Awang, pictured here in action during the kierin final at the Olympics.
Matthew Glaetzer and Mohd Azizulhasni Awang in action during the kierin final at the Olympics. (Photo by PETER PARKS/AFP via Getty Images)

Aussie cyclist Matthew Glaetzer has copped a torrent of online abuse from Malaysian fans after Sunday's keirin final at the Tokyo Olympics.

Glaetzer showed incredible guts to overcome his ill health this week and reach the final, but he and the rest of the field were left gobsmacked by a stunning ride from British legend Jason Kenny.

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Kenny was leading the race as the derny swung off the track with three laps left, with Glaetzer second in the paceline and checking the riders behind him.

But there was too much of a gap between Kenny and Glaetzer and the British ace pounced, launching an improbable solo charge that rocketed him to the gold medal.

“We haven’t seen this at an Olympic final before in a keirin,” Scott McGrory said in commentary for Channel 7.

“What an upset in terms of tactics. That was outrageous.”

Aussie Olympic champion Anna Meares added: “That was just phenomenal … (Glaetzer) let the gap go too far.

“Jason Kenny capitalised on the opportunity. No-one could bring him back. I don’t think even he can believe it.”

Malaysian star Azizulhasni Awang claimed the silver medal but was bitterly disappointed at missing out on gold after winning his semi-final.

“If I go ahead early, it’s a bit risky. Glaetzer, I don’t know what he did, he gave too much lead (to Kenny), ”Awang told Astro Arena.

"But this is a sport. Sometimes we want to win but it’s out of our control.

“I want Malaysians to know that I have done the best I can.”

Mohd Azizulhasni Awang, Jason Kenny and Harrie Lavreysen, pictured here after the kierin final at the Olympics.
Mohd Azizulhasni Awang, Jason Kenny and Harrie Lavreysen pose on the podium after the kierin final at the Olympics. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Matthew Glaetzer targeted by Malaysian cycling fans

However Glaetzer became the target of some disgusting online abuse in the aftermath of the race, with Malaysian fans taking aim at the Aussie cyclist.

Malaysian journalist Shannon Teoh said Glaetzer’s tactics were more like that of a “teammate” of Kenny, jokingly suggesting the Malaysian foreign affairs ministry summon the country’s Australian high commissioner.

A Twitter post of the result from the Australian Olympic Team's official account was bombarded with angry messages from Malaysian fans, while Glaetzer's Instagram account was also targeted.

Malaysia has never won a gold medal at the Olympics, finishing with one silver and one bronze in Tokyo.

Glaetzer finished fifth and remains without a medal after three Olympic Games, but he showed plenty of heart and determination throughout the week.

He was in the team sprint combination that finished fourth on Tuesday and said that event "completely broke me".

He subsequently sat out the sprint and returned for the keirin.

It is also two years since he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

"Sometimes things need to fall your way and unfortunately for me, they haven't personally in terms of medals," he said.

"I've got a bit of a larger perspective ... I'm privileged to ride my bike for Australia."

Glaetzer said he will now take an extended break from cycling before considering his future.

with AAP

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