Hung confident HK riders will shine in London

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 April, 2012, 12:00am


Hong Kong riders are expected to compete in five events at the London Olympics, one more than at the Beijing Games four years ago, despite a disappointing world championships in Australia last week.

With the Olympic qualification period ending after the Melbourne world event, Lee Wai-sze (pictured) is still guaranteed to qualify as the leading rider from Asia in both the women's sprint and keirin. Lee, who turns 25 next month, suffered early exits in both disciplines in Melbourne, failing to advance to even the second round.

She caught the cycling world by surprise when winning silver and bronze medals in the keirin and sprint, respectively, at the World Cup Classic in London in February.

'Lee's result was a bit disappointing, but not devastating,' said Hung Chung-yam, a former Olympian and now deputy honorary secretary of the Hong Kong Cycling Association.

'She did so well in the World Cup in London and it was difficult for her to peak again so soon in Melbourne. But I am confident it will be different at the Olympic Games, which is her priority. We'll see improvement by that time.'The Melbourne event is a high-profile competition and sometimes it's better to keep a low profile before the Olympics to avoid becoming a target. She has the quality and let's give her more time to see how she performs at the Games,' said Hung.

Hong Kong are also expecting to qualify in the men's omnium, a new Olympic programme featuring six disciplines from sprint to endurance events. Either Kwok Ho-ting or Choi Ki-ho will win the ticket. Hong Kong were ranked 16th before the world championships and although Choi finished 21st in Melbourne, it should not affect Hong Kong's qualifying hopes as the top 18 riders, with a maximum of five from Asia, will be competing in London.

Away from the track, Chan Chun-hing can qualify for mountain biking because of his fifth-place finish at last year's Asian championships as long as riders from Japan maintain their positions in the world rankings. In the unlikely event that the Japanese slip up, Chan's dream could be over.

Hong Kong has already qualified in the men's road race through Wong Kam-po, although a final decision on who will represent the city will not be made by the HKCA until early June.

The road race will be the first gold medal up for grabs in the cycling programme.