Wright shocks Lee as Olympic race hots up

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 May, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 May, 2008, 12:00am

Hong Kong's Olympic hopes are still unclear after Andrew Wright placed ahead of leading contender Daniel Lee Chi-wo in the 17th ITU/ASTC Asian Championships in Guangzhou yesterday.

Lee went into the race well ahead of Wright in the Olympic ranking points table, and looking to cement his place in Beijing under the New Flag qualification category, which is basically a wild card whereby one competitor from each continent not otherwise qualified for the Olympics will gain a place on the start list.

However, Wright beat Lee for the first time in competition after out-sprinting the former Olympian in the finishing straight of the 10km run to take 11th place by just two seconds over Lee.

Wright had a very good swim and, although leading Lee by a minute after completing the two-lap 1,500m swim in Central Lake, narrowly failed to join the leading group on the 40km bike stage and was subsequently caught by Lee and the chasing pack on lap two.

'There was very little between Andrew and Daniel today, and the difference in points between the two has narrowed the gap only a little,' said national coach Ruth Hunt.

'Andrew had a very good race and obviously reached a milestone by beating Daniel for the first time. Had Andrew been able to catch the leading bike pack it could have been a very different race. Next week's event at Subic Bay will be a big challenge for both of them, and after that there is only one race left to decide who will get the trip to Beijing.'

Tania Mak So-ning races today in the women's elite event after yesterday acting as one of the 120 bearers in the Olympic Torch relay. Mak's main rival for Olympic qualification, Yekaterina Shatnaya of Kazakhstan, will also be competing.