HK pair renew rivalry with Olympic ticket on the line

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 May, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 May, 2008, 12:00am

Hong Kong triathletes Daniel Lee Chi-wo and Andrew Wright will clash in the Philippines this weekend in a battle that could decide who goes to the Olympics in August.

Asian number two Lee has been in pole position for the New Flag category for most of the season, but Wright closed the gap to 240 points in last Sunday's Asian Championships in Guangzhou. The New Flag category - essentially a wild card - is open to the leading contender from each continent not otherwise qualified for the Olympics.

Lee and Wright now renew their battle at the Subic Bay ITU Triathlon Asian Cup on Sunday.

Hong Kong-born Wright, 24, holds a British passport and was quoted as saying last week he would give it up if he qualified for the spot in Beijing.

'I never actually said I would give up my British passport, but I said I would have to think about it,' Wright said.

'We have been told by the Home Affairs Department that for me to compete in Beijing I have to obtain an SAR passport, but I understand I must give up my British passport.

'My girlfriend [former international triathlete Chrissie Bailey] has a Chinese mother and British father, yet she was able to get an SAR passport without having to give up her British passport. Why should I have to give up mine?' said Wright. 'I think I can win on Sunday, and if I do and Daniel finishes well back then the points gap between us will close,' Wright said. 'If I beat him and score plenty of points I will race in China in two weeks and hope to sew it up there. He's about 240 points ahead of me but there are about the same number of points available for a win on Sunday. If Daniel beats me on Sunday then it's basically all over for me as far as the Olympics go.'

Lee is confident he will be wearing the Hong Kong strip in Beijing and was not upset about trailing in behind the younger Wright in the Guangzhou event.

'I had a strange red blood cell count the week before the Asian Championships and I really didn't feel all that good during the race,' said Lee, 31.

'Maybe I picked up a virus or something, I don't know, but I feel much better now ... I don't see there being any problems with winning the trip to the Olympics.'