“ONCE CRITICIZED, NOW CELEBRATED” – ZAQHWAN ZAIDI

Words are just words until it is repeatedly said over a course of time that it eventually starts hitting a person. Good words leave a positive impact and bad words could lead to quite an opposite reaction. Being criticised and negative words can be a tricky thing to handle. While some may churn it into a positive criticism, some may end up feeling small and rejected.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticised anyway. You’ll be damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”

Standing strong by this very quote is Zaqhwan Zaidi, Malaysian rider who was once upon a time criticised by his very own school teacher on his love for motorsports. “There is no future in it,” he remembered the teacher saying. But he proved it otherwise. Today, his passion has brought him to places and he has carved a name for himself all around the globe.

“When a student is asked about what he or she would want to be when they grew up, may would say that they want to become a doctor or a lawyer, police or a scientist. But I told my teacher that I want to be a motorcycle racer. He laughed at my face and told me that there is no future in it and that I will go nowhere in life if this continues to be my goal.”

“I was a kid then. Definitely, it left an impact in my life. It was hurtful even more so when I was laughed at for my dreams and passion. But I never gave up. I believed in myself and I took that snide comment as a way to move forward. I wanted to prove that I would be successful in this field. And I’m glad that I did! Recently, I also met the teacher who made that comment and I made peace with it when he acknowledged my achievements,” said Zaqhwan.

Zaqhwan is no stranger to the world of motorsports. He emerged into the two wheels racing professionally at the age of 12 and made his debut in the SuperSports 600cc at the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship in 2014. He was only 19 then. Despite being a debutante, he was crowned Champion after performing phenomenally in the race. In 2018 he was crowned for the second time in his career.

Zaqhwan who rides for Honda Asia-Dream Racing with SHOWA is currently sitting at the second spot overall in the Asia Superbike 1000cc category. He sped to a positive start in the first three rounds. He fell short in Race 1 of Round 2 in his home-ground and Race 2 of Round 3 held at Sugo International Racing Course. Nevertheless, the highly experienced rider is not about to give up and believes that he still has what it takes to overtake the Japanese rider, Haruki Noguchi who is currently taking lead in the overall standings with a gap of 13
points between them.

The smiling persona who is embracing his 27 th year has come up with a strategy to “capture” Round 4 which is scheduled to take place from 6 th to 9 th October at the Sepang International Circuit before the 2022 campaign concludes at the Chang International Circuit, Thailand from 18 th to 20 th November.

“I will for sure put on a good tough fight with Noguchi. For this race (in Sepang), I don’t to be defeated by him. I have to win and be at a better position than he is now so that I can add on the points that is needed. I cannot afford to make mistakes. Noguchi is definitely my biggest contender. He understands his machine very well and has a mastery that is not easy to supersede. It will be a challenging one for me but I will go all out,” said Zaqhwan.

Haruki Noguchi of SDG Motor Sports HARC-PRO Ph. team has taken three consecutive wins since Race 2 of Round 2 in Sepang before continuing his momentum of excellence in his homeland for Round 3.

Noguchi currently leads the overall chart of the ASB1000cc category with a total of 124 points while Zaqhwan trails closely. Meanwhile, Yamaha GEN BLU Racing Team ASEAN rider, Kasma Daniel Kasmayuddin takes third with a total of 84 points.

“We will try out level best. Sometimes it really is about the Lady Luck too. Regardless, I have set the target to finish the race ahead of him. I must take the win in both races and we seem to have a bright chance to clinch the podium in the following round at Thailand too,” said Zaqhwan who aims to defend the Malaysia’s Asian Champion title. In year 2019, the championship title fell into the hands of Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman before the two-year lockdown took place.

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