Sarah Lee christens new velodrome with gold medal

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 January, 2014, 2:03pm
UPDATED : Friday, 10 January, 2014, 2:20pm

Sarah Lee Wai-sze lived up to the expectations, winning her first gold medal in the new Hong Kong Velodrome in Tseung Kwan O on Friday.

The 2012 London Olympic Games bronze medallist had little difficulty winning the women’s 500-metre time trial, finishing the two-lap race in 34.68 seconds at the Hong Kong International Cup.

“I felt a bit tense as this is the first time racing here,” said Lee, who put on her “rainbow jersey” as the reigning world champion of the event.

“The result is not too bad considering the windy conditions and it would be better if there are more fans to cheer for us. I hope more people will come to support us during the weekend.”

Coach Shen Jinkang was also pleased with Lee’s performance, although the opposition was not strong.

“She has never reached 34 seconds in training and that’s why I am satisfied,” said the coach. “I could see Lee working very hard during the race and perhaps she knew there were expectations from the fans.

“China did not send their best rider in this event as they intend to strive for world ranking points in the sprint and keirin in order to qualify for the World Cup. Lee will have tough races in these two events in the next two days.”

Only seven riders competed in the event with Han Jun and Liu Lili, both from Shandong province, finishing second and third respectively.

The hosts also won another gold medal in the UCI Class I event with Fung Yuk-ki’s victory in the junior women’s 500-metre time trial. The 16-year-old student came first in 38.956 seconds.

Fung, a sixth form student at Diocesans Girls School, said she was still considering turning to full-time training.