Lee Wai-sze 'a revelation' at London Games test
Hong Kong's Lee Wai-sze established herself as a serious medal contender in the sprint events at this summer's Olympic Games following another world-class performance at the Track World Cup in London.
In the women's keirin final, which featured a top-class field including world number one Simona Krupeckaite of Lithuania, China's Guo Shuang and Victoria Pendleton of the hosts, Lee's strong finish brought her a silver medal after a high-speed contest. Krupeckaite, favourite, captured gold while China's Guo, who had always finished ahead of Lee on the international stage, was third.
It was Lee's second medal in the London event after her sprint bronze the previous night when she defeated Pendleton, sprint champion at the 2008 Olympic Games.
Held in London's new velodrome at the Olympic Park, the World Cup also served as a test event for the upcoming Olympic Games.
The International Cycling Union described 24-year-old Lee as 'a late revelation in the sprint events' after she claimed her second medal.
Hung Chung-yam, Hong Kong Cycling Association's deputy general secretary, said Lee had been putting in some of her best cycling since last week's Asian Championships in Kuala Lumpur, where Lee captured golds in the sprint and 500-metre time trial and a bronze in the keirin, a mass-start race with a paced start.
'She is working hard with a clear target of making the London Games,' Hung said. 'If she keeps improving, she has real medal hopes in the Olympics this summer.'
There is only one event left in London qualifying, the Track Cycling World Championships in Melbourne in early April, and Lee is almost certain to book a berth in the sprint. Her prospects for the keirin, in which she earned 260 ranking points in London, remain to be seen. 'The world championships offer double ranking points and she needs to maintain a high position if she wants to secure both sprint events tickets for the Olympics,' Hung said.
Hong Kong were ninth in the sprint and 13th in the keirin in January's rankings, but the latest figures including the Asian Championships and London World Cup results are not yet out.
Only the top eight riders can qualify, but with a maximum quota set for each continent, Lee still stands a good chance.
'I still need to learn more about the sprint,' said Lee after beating Pendleton on Saturday.
'Next, I go to the world championships and it will be like being at school for me.'