Lee wins again after dipping behind pack

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 June, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 11 June, 2001, 12:00am

Hong Kong's top triathlete Daniel Lee Chi-wo shook off a poor swim to capture his third victory in the Asian Cup series in Xuzhou yesterday.

Lee tasted success again following his wins in Taiwan in April and the Philippines last week, finishing the Olympic distance - 1.5km swim, 40km bike and 10km run - in one hour, 56 minutes and 15 seconds, a minute ahead of second-placed mainland number one Lu Chundi, to win the men's elite open category of the China leg.

Despite being the 13th competitor to come out of the water - swimming is his weakest discipline - Lee made up for lost ground by taking the lead midway through the bike section and kept his dominance in the run - his strongest event.

'It's nice to win. The top Japanese triathletes aren't here but the race was still open. Lu and a few other Japanese posed strong threats to me. I didn't do well in swimming because I was a little tired after last week's race in the Philippines. Overall, I performed well but I still need to improve on my swim,' the 24-year-old said.

Lee, who turned full-time since his graduation from the Chinese University of Hong Kong a year ago, now hopes to qualify for the World Championships men's elite category for the first time. This year's event will be held in Canada late next month.

'I raced in the junior category at the worlds from 1994-97 but racing in the open event will be a new experience for me. I'm now ranked 67th in the world and I'll qualify if I make it to the top 50 next month. I will compete in two World Cup events in Japan and South Korea early next month, so hopefully I could win enough ranking points,' Lee said.

Lee, however, admitted that there was a clear gap between him and the top Asian triathletes, notably the Japanese, because of his weakness in swimming. He came sixth behind a few Japanese entrants at last month's Asian Championship in Malaysia.

Lee will know by the end of the nine-leg series, which finishes in October, whether he will be Asian number one. The Asian rankings are based on results obtained in the best three legs, including the Asian Championship, which counts for double points.

Another top SAR triathlete, Kenneth Yip, finished 12th in the men's elite open while Samuel Leung and Lau Cheuk-chi finished sixth in the men's elite junior and the women's elite junior categories.