HK's Games bid to start in Kazakhstan
Hong Kong embark on their Olympic track cycling qualification campaign when the opening leg of the 2012 World Cup classic series begins in Astana, Kazakhstan, next week.
With a road-race Olympic berth unlikely following poor results in the Asian Tour, the track is the biggest hope for Hong Kong cyclists' participation in London.
An eight-member squad - four men and four women - will take part in the World Cup event, which takes place in the former Soviet Union state from November 4 to 6.
Kwok Ho-ting, Choi Ki-ho, Cheung King-lok and Cheung King-wai - the squad that won Hong Kong a silver medal in the team pursuit at the Asian Games in Guangzhou last year - will enter the same event. Kwok, the reigning scratch-race world champion, will also try his luck in the omnium.
In the women's events, a new combination of Lee Wai-sze and Diao Xiaojuan will try to improve Hong Kong's team sprint rankings to enhance their qualifying hopes. Lee, who broke the 500-metre time trial Asian record to win a gold medal at the Guangzhou Games, is also challenging the individual sprint and keirin berths for London. 'There will be four rounds of the World Cup series and the 2012 World Championships in Melbourne in April before the conclusion of the Olympic track qualifiers,' said Wong Yiu-wah, convenor of the training committee of the Hong Kong Cycling Association.
'We stand good chances in a number of events such as Kwok's omnium and Lee's two individual disciplines, while the men's team pursuit faces a daunting task as only a maximum of two teams from Asia can go to London.
'South Korea are currently two places ahead of us in 14th position in the world standings, and if we want to make sure we qualify in the event, we have to get past them. But it won't be easy, as the Koreans beat us for the gold medal in the Guangzhou Games last year.'
Kwok's omnium is in 19th position, and only the top 18 can qualify. After calculating the maximum quota for each continent, Kwok should have little problem making it to London if he maintains his standard.
Lee is ninth in the sprint and 11th in the keirin and will need to fend off challenges from South Korea, Malaysia and Japan if she wants to qualify as the second place from the continent behind Asian power China.
Lee Wai-sze's time, in seconds, that broke the Asian record in Guangzhou last year