25-year old Mohd Danish Affan Bin Hasnul Basri from Klang, Selangor is perhaps the next talent we should be looking out for in our community. The coach from RC Coaching – and also a part-timer for bicycle services at a shop in Sirap Garag, Puncak Alam – has earned a few age group category podium positions and is gunning for a SEA Games spot.
While honing his running shoes, Danish used to run with groups and clubs like Puncak Alam Running Club and On Jejak Ultra runner. Since he ventured into triathlon, you can often spot him cycling, running and swimming with Puncak Alam Triathlete, and now, RC Coaching too.
ToughASIA: How did you get involved in running and triathlon?
Danish: I had always loved running since primary school days, when I would be playing “police and thief” before and after school with my best friend.
My running journey got more exciting in Standard 3 at age 9 when I won a cross country run in my category. I was not strong academically, so being on the podium for a top 3 finish was the only opportunity I had to be on stage! Since that moment, I was inspired and trained on my own every time there would be a cross country or track race in school.
In 2018, I decided to make an active comeback in sports by swimming and cycling. I was also as a mechanic at Sapura Aero on 12-hour shifts. But my soul was always hungry to train before, after, or both before and after work!
Initially, I trained just to keep myself busy and get past old memories. But after a year of training, I decided to try the Port Dickson triathlon race and then fell in love with the sport.
ToughASIA: Where are your favourite training locations for running or cycling?
Danish: I like to run at track loops in Bukit Jalil and the MBSJ stadium. For cycling, my favourites are at Putrajaya, Puncak Alam and Sepang.
ToughASIA: How do you change your training during Ramadan?
Danish: I train around 5 to 6 days per week and I follow the training program closely at Training Peaks prepared by coach, Rupert from RC Coaching.
During Ramadan, at least 1 to 2 hours before I sleep, I will make sure to do a water drill – to drink at least 2 litres of plain water to keep me hydrated during the day.
I will train less during this month, and if I need to do high intensity training, I would make it shorter and always “listen to my body”.
ToughASIA: What are your proud sporting moments?
Danish: I was the age group 16-29 Champion for Ultra Aquathlon 113 Series in 2020. I had placed third in my age group for the 2019 Challenge Iskandar Puteri 70.3 and 5th place for Denai Ultra Sungkai 50km in 2018.
ToughASIA: Have you joined any virtual races?
Danish: I think virtual races inspires the community motivated to continue training and maintaining fitness. I participated in the IRONMAN VR challenges during the previous MCO; it gave me the motivation and purpose to start training in running and cycling even though there were no live races to look forward to.
ToughASIA: What keeps you going into 2021 and beyond as a triathlete? Are you looking forward to any race in particular?
Danish: My coach saw my potential when I joined his program. In 2021, my focus is on duathlon, especially as I am aiming towards the SEA Games selection in June.
ToughASIA: Any final thoughts for the fellow sports community?
Danish: As a sportsman or athlete, it is normal for you to feel motivated and to find that motivation comes from many factors. For me, what keeps me going is the sports community itself – amazing, kind hearted souls I meet that are supportive and open to share their knowledge and experiences.
Finally, nothing is impossible and it is never too late to start something new, especially you put your heart and soul into it.
For example, I really loved swimming and cycling since I was a child but never got fully involved into them again until recently. For swimming, I started to learn on my own by watching the elites training and doing research on it. For cycling, I started with the basics – a used 8-speed steel road bike. I am always grateful with what I have, and it motivates me to train harder. I upgrade my fitness level first, then only my gears.
Photos provided by Danish Affan.