Lack of focus costs Lee in sprint

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 January, 2011, 12:00am

Hong Kong's Lee Wai-sze showed she still has a lot to learn on the international scene after a disappointing finish in the women's sprint at the Track World Cup Classic yesterday.

The 23-year-old (pictured) finished 12th position in the qualifying round to reach the last 16, but that was the best the Guangzhou Asian Games bronze medallist in the same event could muster as she lost two consecutive races in the next two rounds to tumble down the field.

She was first defeated by Dutchwomen Willy Kanis, 2008 Olympic semi-finalist, in the last-16 race, and in the play-off for ninth to 12th places, she lost again, this time to Natasha Hansen of New Zealand. Only the top 12 finishers are rewarded with precious Olympic qualifying points.

'I was thinking too much and could not focus during the race,' Lee said. 'In the past, it was straight forward for me in any competition. I went out and did my best, and if there was a good result, fine; if not, come back next time.

'But after an outstanding Asian Games in Guangzhou, I am thinking more about winning in the race, thinking how to perform my best, how to get a good result. All these things have made it difficult to stay focused.'

Lee won a gold medal in the 500-metre time trial with an Asian record in Guangzhou. She also captured a bronze in the sprint, making her one of the stars in the Hong Kong delegation.

Coach Shen Jinkang agreed Lee wasn't at her best. However, he was not too worried about missing out on the Olympic qualifying points.

'She is now a top-class sprinter in Asia and with an allocation of an Olympic berth to one rider per nation in the region [two tickets for Asia], she has a great chance of making it to the London Games in 2012,' the coach said. 'She needs to adjust her mindset as she already has the quality.'

Lee will start in the keirin today - her last event in the three-day World Cup Classic in the Laoshan Velodrome.