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No more 'cold weather' excuses

Posted: 27 Apr 2011 04:07 AM PDT

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011 19:05:00

KUALA LUMPUR: National cyclists will not be able to use cold weather as an excuse for their poor performances when competing in East Asian countries anymore said Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) president Abu Samah Abd Wahab.

Abu Samah said Mohd Adiq Hussainie Othman's success in the Tour de Korea 2011 (TDK 2011) last week under the cold weather conditions, showed that the weather cannot be used as an excuse anymore. In the TDK 2011, Mohd Adiq finished on the podium in three stages.

"We feel Mohd Adiq Hussainie has been able to overcome the jinx and mental block of Malaysia cyclists who had all these while felt they were not able to produce good performances under cold weather.

"What more when the weather was under 1 degree Celsius during the Tour de Korea recently," said Abu Samah in a statement today.

Abu Samah added that during a port-mortem on the performance of the national squad in the TDK 2011 with coach John Beasley, the main topic was the ability of our cyclists under such extreme conditions.

MNCF has also asked Beasley to identify races held in countries where the weather is cold, he said. "We believe Mohd Adiq can also succeed in Europe where some races are held under similar conditions," he said.

Meanwhile, Beasley in the statement said Mohd Adiq and Muhammad Rauf Nur Misbah should be considered for the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia, especially for the road race to be held in Palembang.

"Based on Mohd Adiq's performance at a major race like the TDK 2011, I believe Mohd Adiq and Muhammad Rauf will be vital in Indonesia. Furthermore, we have not won a gold medal in the last two SEA Games (2007, 2009)," he said.

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Real or Barca to win Champions League, says Reina

Posted: 26 Apr 2011 10:12 PM PDT

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011 13:05:00

MADRID: Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina is backing either Real Madrid or Barcelona to win the Champions League this season — insisting both are stronger than Manchester United.

Real host Barca in the first-leg semifinal at Santiago Bernabeu tomorrow (2.45am).

"It is very difficult to say who will be favourites," Reina told Spanish radio station Cadena Cope.

"Real go into the match with a massive boost as they have been playing better in the last matches. Real are the only team who have been able to play Barca in an effective manner.

"They beat Barca in one match, and in the other match they created a lot of problems to Barca by playing a different style of football. The Catalans are finding it hard to adapt to this system.

"But I don't think the winners will be decided in just one match.

"The second-leg will be at Nou Camp and this is why I think Barca have a little bit of advantage."

Reina, a former Barca youth player, also commented on the mindset of both groups of players, maintaining the side who reach the final would be favourites to win the European elite competition.

"I think all of them are very optimistic. They are playing the two-legged semifinal against their biggest rivals and they are anxious to win. This is because they know the victors will most likely win the competition.

"I think whoever win between Real and Barca will be the champions, as both are stronger than United."

Reina, who used to play for Villarreal, also dismissed suggestions Barca will lack confidence following their recent Copa del Rey final defeat.

"The victory in the Copa took a positive impact for Real but does not necessarily have a negative impact for Barca. They are close to winning Primera Liga and have their options to be in Champions League final. I don't think Barca are pessimistic," he said.

Although the Catalans have been strong in the league all season, Reina does believe the problems they have in defence currently could cause trouble.

Real have scored a lot goals in recent matches — including six away to Valencia last weekend at the Mestalla.

That was the most any away side have ever scored in that stadium.

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