Hong Kong Olympic hopeful Sarah Lee admits she is inspired by her cycling heroes as she steps up Rio preparations
Hong Kong medal hope takes time out from busy training regime in Guangzhou to provide update on her progress
Sarah Lee Wai-sze is drawing on the experience of veteran stars including Chris Hoy and Anna Meares as part of her preparation for the Olympic Games, where she will be Hong Kong’s biggest medal hopeful.
The 29-year-old, who will be making her second Olympic appearance in Rio after clinching a bronze medal at the London Games four years ago, has been reading the biographies of Hoy, Meares and Victoria Pendleton after completing her daily training regime.
“I like reading the biographies of cycling stars as they are all great riders who have had a lot of success on the track over the years,” said Lee, who has been training in Guangzhou at the Mega University City velodrome since returning from altitude training in Kunming in early May.
Hoy won two more Olympic gold medals at the age of 36 at the London Games, while Meares has won many Olympic medals since her debut in Athens back in 2004.
With a total of seven Olympic medals – six gold and one silver – in four Olympics from Sydney to London, Briton Hoy is the most decorated Olympic cyclist of all time, while Australian Meares has also won five medals including two gold.
Pendleton was hailed “Queen Victoria” after her second gold medal success at the London Games.
“Maybe I have not reached my peak yet like these stars,” she said. “But it’s still too early to talk about things beyond the Rio Games, or whether I would stay in cycling or not.
“My focus is definitely set on Rio with two months to go and there are a number of top sprinters I must overcome if I want to win a medal for Hong Kong.”
Lee said her training regime is very similar to the competition schedule in Rio where she will take part in both the keirin and spirit.
“The two events will last four days – beginning with the one-day keirin followed by a three-day competition in the sprint if I can reach the final. My training is pretty much the same as that four-day cycle to simulate the Olympic environment.
“I have to give my best in each session as I would competing in Rio. It’s very tough and demanding, mentally and physically, but I know I must get through this if I want to win medals in Rio,” she said.
Lee will head to Australia for a series of events later this month as part of her final build-up for Rio, while Leung Chun-wing in the men’s omnium will be taking part in a June test event in Rio.
“It is like a fact-finding trip as we would like to know more about the track in Rio, which only opens this month,” said head coach Shen Jinkang.
Diao Xiaojuan has also qualified for Rio in the women’s omnium but will not take part in the test event as the travelling has been deemed too time consuming.
Hong Kong cycling star Sarah Lee still confident of Olympic medal despite World Championships struggle
Leung, 22, has been surprised at the amount of progress he has made over the past four years.
“I was watching Lee win the Olympic bronze after a training session in Kunming, where I have been a training partner with her and the men’s omnium Olympian Choi Ki-ho,” said Leung.
“Now four years have gone and I have replaced Choi and will be representing Hong Kong in Rio. Time seems to have passed quickly but a lot of hard work and effort has been put in for me to reach where I am and I believe there will be a lot more to come.”
Hong Kong will also have Chan Chun-hing in the men’s mountain bike and Cheung King-lok in the men’s road race in Rio.