Kuala Lumpur , July 15 1998 (Bernama):

KUALA LUMPUR, July 15 (Bernama) -- Malaysian ace rider M.Kumaresan won the last gold medal at stake in the pre-Commonwealth Games cycling championships at the Kuala Lumpur Velodrome in Cheras here tonight.

He collected 63 points in the 40km race covering 120 laps to deliver Malaysia's sixth gold medal in the five-day competition, which ended tonight.

Kumaresan, who had represented Malaysia for 14 years, was strongly challenged by Hong Kong's top rider, Wong Kam Po, who collected 58 points for the silver while Thailand's Wangardiaigram Thongchai, who collected 28 points, took the a bronze medal.

Kumaresan, 31, managed to gather five full points in the earlier laps before Kam Po made a comeback in the remaining 40 laps but it was not enough for Kam Po to overtake Kumaresan for the title.

Another Malaysian, Syed Mohd Hussaini, who made the first breakaway to grab full points, failed to maintain his good showing and had to settle for seventh placing.

The championships, which included road races and track events, attracted 74 riders from Brunei, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia and Malaysia B. The road race was held in Shah Alam over the weekend.

"I'm very happy with the victory tonight and I should thank my teammates, Hardi (Razali), Mahazir (Hamad) and Syed Hussaini who helped me a lot," said Kumaresan, who has been cycling competitively for last 16 years.

He said credit should go to his teammates for "blocking" Kam Po who possessed a powerful sprint whenever he had the opportunity. "In the last 40 laps, I felt tired as I was chasing and sprinting a lot from the beginning...and I told my teammates to help me chase and pressure Kam Po and the Thai rider," said Kumaresan.

He said although he won his favourite race today, there was nothing to shout about since the standard in the championship was far behind that of the Commonwealth Games.

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