Having coached world-class cyclists for several years has led to the creation of Malaysia’s first cycling medal in the Rio Olympic Games, a world champion title in the Hong Kong Track Cycling World Championships, then another cycling medal in the Tokyo Olympic Games.
John Beasley shares his love, passion, and knowledge for the sport of cycling through coaching. Growing up in a cyclist family, Beasley found a way to give back to the future generation and discovered what a rider of any ability should endeavor. The cycling coach has seen and been a part of every factor and element in every athlete.
How Beasley found his calling
Australian John Beasley comes from a family of three generations with vast experience and proficiency in cycling. He becomes a professional coach at the international, world-class, and Olympic levels.
Beasley started as a professional coach with the Victorian Institute of Sport for 4 years as an assistant coach. Later, he was employed by the Australian Cycling Federation as the national junior sprint track coach.
In 2003, Beasley left the Victorian Institute of Sport to develop his expertise as a high-performance coach and joined the Drapac Cycling Team. In 2005, he was appointed as the Director Sportif for the AG2R Cycling Team, where he helped to attain creditable results in several races such as the Victorian Sun Tour.
In the following year, Beasley was appointed as the Australian national senior sprint track coach for one season before turning to the road. In 2006, he returned to a coaching role on the velodrome where he was appointed as the national track coach by Malaysian Sports Institute (ISN).
He has coached professional track cyclists like Josiah Ng, a former cyclist, Azizulhasni Awang, an Olympic medalist and world champion, Fatehah Mustapa and Shah Firdaus Sahrom, Olympic finalists, and more.
More than a cycling coach
John Beasley is more than just a cycling coach. He has built a relationship with his cyclists like a close-knit family. They have constructed an intimate bonding and shaped reliance on each other.
It is one of Beasley’s responsibilities to achieve a genuine relationship with his athletes and focus on ensuring success on the track.
Beasley wants to ensure that his athletes will open up themselves to view him as a mentor. “They are like my children. They are like my family,” he says. As someone who had never been to and known Malaysia before 2006, Beasley took some time to accept the employment offer.
Coming from Australia, he has to adapt to cultural differences. However, he has learned a lot about Malaysian culture from his riders. “I do eat Malaysian food. I celebrate Hari Raya with them every year in Australia, whereas, during Christmas, I prepare dishes for them. We celebrate special days together. We might come from different backgrounds, but that connects us.
Despite the different races, it’s all about respect. In the beginning, it might be challenging to live together, but all they need to do is understanding each other. It is the closeness. Athletes who form close attachments to Beasley are more likely to feel more secure and confident in exploring their roles in cycling and pushing their boundaries.
“I have been lucky enough to find these raw diamonds. These boys are like diamonds. They are precious and special.”
The father of Malaysian track cycling
John Beasley believes the core of any good coaching is the ability for an athlete to find the contentment in what they are doing. When he first came to Malaysia, Malaysian cycling was still a humble beginning. Now, the sport is growing aggressively.
Having raised an Olympic medallist and world champion, the country’s eyes are on Beasley. Playing a key role in Azizulhasni Awang’s success, Beasley calls Azizulhasni a naturally gifted guy. He has the full package of what is more complete than any other athlete. He has a different personality and mentality. “I would say it’s the cycling accomplishment I am most proud of.”
However, not every race is successful. How does Beasley overcome disappointment? Sometimes, it is about luck. Everyone has to deal with disappointments. Beasley learns from failure and works things out with his athletes. “That’s how we can make improvements.”
The most satisfying part of coaching is that he lives his passion every day. Working in athlete management requires dedication and involves long hours in the process. Beasley believes that having the passion and right skill, coaching can be fulfilling and rewarding. Furthermore, cycling in Malaysia is greatly recognized. It will be a place with remarkable coaching programs.
Coaching requires determination. If it is worth receiving, it makes you remember why you began the path in the first place. “I have never thought of retirement. I could not see myself sitting around and thinking about what to do. I wanted to be a professional cyclist, but that didn’t work out. So, I will just be a cycling coach. I hope that I will learn and keep up with the latest trend.“ Beasley ends the interview with giggles.