Injury setback for HK's London Olympics dream
Hong Kong's bid to qualify for next year's London Olympic Games suffered a big setback with the injury of veteran cyclist Wong Kam-po.
Wong (pictured), Hong Kong's top cyclist for more than a decade, missed last week's Tour de Kumano in Japan after breaking his collarbone during training in China and is also doubtful for the Tour de Singkarak in Indonesia next week.
'He needs another two to three weeks before he is fully recovered,' said Hung Chung-yam, deputy general secretary of the Hong Kong Cycling Association (HKCA). 'He has rarely suffered from serious injuries, and we hope he can get well soon and get back on his bike.'
Wong only returned to road racing at the beginning of the season, after his favourite event on the track - the points race - was dropped from the London Olympic programme. The 38-year-old has qualified for all four Olympics since Atlanta 1996.
The HKCA has named a provisional squad without Wong for the Indonesian tour, which will take place in West Sumatra from June 6-12. Heading the team is the promising Choi Ki-ho, the highest ranked rider from Hong Kong on the Asian tour, at 17th. The others are Yeung Ying-hon, Kwok Ho-ting, Cheung King-wai and Cheung King-lok.
Choi, the yellow jersey winner at the Tour de Korea in April, also missed the Kumano race due to the concerns of his family about the radiation from Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster. Yeung, silver medallist at the 2009 East Asian Games, finished with the best result for Hong Kong in Kumano: eighth overall.
With only four big tours left before qualification ends in September, Hong Kong face a daunting need to finish in the top four in Asia to get to London. Hong Kong are seventh, 60 points behind fourth-placed Malaysia. Iran and Japan are the runaway teams in the standings, while South Korea look favourites for third.
Boosting Hong Kong's chances slightly, a national road race championship has been scheduled for June 19 in the city, but the qualification points on offer can hardly compare with those on the Asian tour.