Wong Kam-po rides from one silver medal to another

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 April, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 April, 2004, 12:00am

Wong Kam-po grabbed his second major medal in five days - but it wasn't the colour he wanted.

The 31-year-old Hong Kong champion cyclist came out second best again after taking silver in the men's 30km points final at the weather-hit Asian Championships in Nagoya, Japan.

His performance in Nagoya came just days after he surprised pundits by winning silver in the highly competitive UCI World Cup Classics in Manchester. Wong took his medal haul to three after winning a bronze in the scratch race in Nagoya.

The points race was supposed to have been run today, but was put forward a day after rain wiped out Wednesday's programme, forcing organisers to reschedule.

Wong said the rescheduled points race - his best chance for gold at the 24th running of the Asian Championships - was not a major factor given that he had one less day to rest after Manchester.

'I have had sufficient rest so it didn't affect me too much. I am still happy with silver and bronze,' said the former Asian Games champion, who has become an outstanding track rider after making a name for himself as a road racer.

Wong, who is considered Hong Kong's greatest rider, finished second behind South Korea's Song Kyung-bang, who racked up eight more points than Wong by race's end. Iran's Abbas Saeidi finished third, 10 points behind Wong.

Song, Wong and Saeidi broke away from the main group with five laps to go, but the Korean snatched top prize by finishing the race in first place, worth 20-point bonus.

Wong finished third in the scratch race behind race winner Kei Uchida and silver medallist, China's Wang Guozhang.

Wong, who finished second at the Tour of South China Sea in January, had been hoping to win his first track gold medal as one of the favourites in the points race. But he has another chance on the last day of competition in the madison today. 'Competition is tough in Nagoya. I hope to do well in the madison too,' said Wong.

In Manchester, Wong achieved his best-ever result by winning silver in the third leg of the UCI World Cup Classics. That performance has put him in a strong position to qualify for next month's UCI World Track Championships in Melbourne in the same event.

Only the top 24 riders from the ranking list can compete in the last major competition before the Olympics in Athens and Wong is currently in eighth place with the Sydney leg next month.

Wong has done well in the madison before, having clinched bronze in the Asian Games in Pusan in 2002, but is not considered a gold medal prospect in Nagoya.

'I'll try my best but there's no guarantee that I can win another medal,' said Wong, who hopes to match his three-medal haul at the Asian Championships in 2002.

Wong would have been a strong medal contender in the individual road race in Nagoya, but the event clashed with Manchester.

Wong has already qualified for the road race for Athens by finishing 11th in the World 'B' Championships in Aigle, Switzerland.