SEPANG, Aug 8 — After a glorious outing at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, national weightlifting champion Muhamad Aznil Bidin has a two-pronged mission at the 19th Asian Games next year.

He is aiming for the gold medal to become the country’s first weightlifter to climb the podium in the history of the Asian Games.

He said if successful, it will also help him in his quest to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics and thus achieve his ambition of making an appearance at the pinnacle of sports.

“My main mission is of course to qualify for the Olympic Games but I also need to ensure that my lifts at the Asian Games are the best because no Malaysian weightlifter has ever won a medal in this sport (at the Asian Games).

“If I want to go to the Olympics, I have to participate in at least four tournaments but the score must be perfect… one of the platforms for collecting points is the Asian Games, so I must give my best there,” he told reporters when met at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) here.

However, the 28-year-old athlete admitted that he will face great competition from weightlifting powerhouses such as China, Indonesia and Vietnam.

He said the World Championship in Colombia this December is the closest tournament for him to once again test his mental and physical endurance.

Ahead of the meet, Muhammad Aznil said after winning gold at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, he will next focus on resuming his training to improve on his weaknesses.

“I will participate in the tournament in Colombia to collect points and so far I am confident with the strategy set by my coach Yon Haryono because even after winning gold in Birmingham, I actually continued to train non-stop,” said the Kedah-born athlete.

In Birmingham, Muhammad Aznil created a sensation after topping the competition in the men’s 61 kilogramme (kg) category with a total lift of 285 kg (snatch 127kg, clean & jerk 158kg), which was also a new Commonwealth Games record.

The success proved his prowess in weightlifting as he defended the gold he won in the 2018 edition in Gold Coast, Australia. — Bernama