Olympic boost for HK cyclist after win
Kwok Ho-ting further raised his hopes of reaching next year's London Olympics by clinching the points race in the men's omnium at the World Cup Classic in Cali, Colombia, yesterday.
The 23-year-old was the only rider to lap the peloton three times in the 30-kilometre, 120-lap race, which featured 24 of the world's top cyclists. He is ninth in the six-discipline event after finishing 16th in both the flying lap and elimination race.
'Kwok is strong in endurance events, but still, it is not easy to finish first among so many top riders,' said Wong Yiu-wah, convenor of the training committee of the Hong Kong Cycling Association. 'He still has three more races to go in the omnium, but if he can maintain his form, he certainly can get a good overall ranking and boost his 2012 Games hopes.'
Kwok is 19th in the Olympic qualifiers; the top 24 riders can qualify for London.
He also led the Hong Kong team to a remarkable 10th-place finish in the 4km team pursuit in a 17-team field. The result will give Hong Kong the opportunity to overtake rivals South Korea in the Olympic qualifying rankings as the top team from Asia. Hong Kong and South Korea are tied for 10th, and only the world's top 10 teams can qualify for the London Games. The Koreans did not enter the Cali event, but will certainly give Hong Kong a hard time when the next World Cup leg takes place in Beijing in mid-January.
The Korean team captured a gold medal at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, where Hong Kong managed a silver with Kwok, Choi Ki-ho, Cheung King-wai and his younger brother Cheung King-lok - the squad in Cali.
'The team pursuit can qualify a total of four riders for the Olympics, and it is definitely our target to send more riders to London next summer,' said Wong. 'Our four riders are working very hard so that they can become the first cycling team from Hong Kong to appear at the Olympic Games.'
The Cali event continues today with Hong Kong women's hope Lee Wai-sze beginning her campaign in the individual sprint.