Hong Kong’s former world champion cyclist Kwok Ho-ting says he will retire
The veteran rider – winner of the 2011 world scratch race – says a lower back problem is preventing him from training and retirement is the only option
Hong Kong’s former world champion Kwok Ho-ting is planning to retire just as his teammates prepare to battle for international honours at the World Track Championships, which start in London on Wednesday.
Sarah Lee Wai-sze, who captured an Olympic bronze medal in the women’s keirin four years ago at the same venue in East London – the Lee Valley VeloPark – will spearhead a strong seven-member challenge, but for the injured Kwok, he is already resigned to ending a glittering 10-year career because of a back problem.
“My lower back injury has stopped me from training for a long time, leaving me little choice but to head towards retirement,” said the 28-year-old Kwok, who has been struggling to overcome his spinal problems since early 2014. “I have been in full-time training for 10 years and have little regrets over my career.
“There are many options after sport such as going back to studies or start in another field. I will give it serious thought later.”
Kwok is still on the Sports Institute scholarship list but his contract is due to finish by the end of this month, which is when he is expected to call it quits.
In 2011, Kwok became the second rider from Hong Kong to win a world title in the scratch race in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands following Wong Kam-po’s feat in the same event four years ago.
The achievement earned him the Hong Kong Sports Star of the Year award.
Watch Kwok Ho-ting win the 2011 world scratch title
Kwok first won a World Cup gold medal in the scratch in Melbourne in 2008 and achieved the same result in the madison with Choi Ki-ho in the 2010 World Cup series in Beijing. He was also a member of the Hong Kong men’s pursuit team who won a silver medal at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou.
Cheung King-lok, one of the four members of the silver medal pursuit team, will try to follow in Kwok’s footsteps when he starts in the scratch race in London.
The 25-year-old Cheung is the Hong Kong team’s hottest rider on current form after a scoring a double victory in the men’s individual time trial and the road race in the Asian Championships in Japan in January.
“It’s always my target to do well in the World Championships and it would be a great accomplishment if I can win the scratch,” said Cheung.
Sarah Lee will start her campaign in Thursday's keirin event.