GLASGOW (Reuters) - With the hopes of a nation placed on his shoulders and no one for company, Brunei’s sole athlete at the Commonwealth Games, Muhammad I’maadi Abd Aziz, is determined to make the most of his Scottish adventure.
The 21-year-old part-time cyclist, who is competing in three events, has struggled at the Chris Hoy velodrome after failing to progress past the heat stages of the 40km points race and 20km scratch race.
Hardly a surprise considering the history student never gets to ride on polished boards.
“We don’t have a track in Brunei,” he told reporters on Sunday. “We train on the road in the heat.
“I have never trained on the track, I just race on it. But it’s a great experience for me. It’s (the scratch race) the biggest race I have ever raced in.”
Being the only competitor from Brunei, Abd Aziz was given the responsibility of carrying his home nations flag at the opening ceremony.
“Everyone was looking for me on television in Brunei,” Abd Aziz, who hopes to explore Scotland before returning, said.
“It (carrying the flag) meant everything to me but it’s crazy because I’m the only athlete from Brunei.
“It’s lonely. It’s only me with my coach for company.”
With his best event, the road race, to come on the final day of the Games, Abd Aziz is hoping to gain inspiration from some of the Olympic champions and Tour de France riders that are competing in Glasgow.
“If I get in the top 20 that will be the goal,” he added. “For my standard, with lots of professionals coming, it would be great if I got in the top 20.”
Reporting by Michael Hann; editing by Martyn Herman