Fans welcome Hong Kong cycling star home after disappointing Rio campaign

After her medal hopes were crushed in a disastrous crash caused by an Australian rival, Sarah Lee Wai-sze returns with eyes firmly focused on World Championships

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 August, 2016, 4:51pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 August, 2016, 7:43pm

Hong Kong cycling star Sarah Lee Wai-sze returned home today to a warm welcome, telling reporters that she had recovered from the emotional trauma of failing to replicate her London Olympics success at Rio.

Lee crashed out of the keirin semi-finals and was later beaten by Kristina Vogel in the sprint quarter finals. Vogel would go on to win gold.

“I just wanted to go home and have a meal with my family,” Lee said yesterday, arriving in Hong Kong.

“I hope people won’t be too sad [at my loss of the race] and don’t cry too much,” she said.

Asked whether she would commit to the Tokyo Games in 2020, the cyclist said no one could foresee what would happen in four years’ time, and would instead focus on the world championships in Hong Kong next year.

The 29-year-old also jokingly described coach Shen Jinkang as her “date”, and was confident that he would stand by her side as long as she wished to carry on competing.

Around a dozen people, including young fans, were waiting at Hung Hom train station Saturday afternoon to greet and show their support for the London bronze medallist, who has since become a household name in Hong Kong.

“I am a bit shocked to see so many people waiting for me,” Lee said as she received gifts from her fans and signed autographs.

Seven-year-old Jon Chan and his four-year-old sister Dora turned up were waiting at train terminus, where Lee arrived from Guangzhou.

The siblings had prepared letters and even rehearsed a short speech. Their mother said it was their idea to turn up and meet their sporting hero.

They eventually managed to greet Lee, and even received a selfie and an autograph from the cyclist.