Hong Kong golden girl Sarah Lee hits out at ‘lazy’ teammates as they struggle through early rounds at Asian Indoors where she takes sprint title
Olympic medallist says boys in particular have to put more effort into training if they want to compete on the international stage
Sarah Lee Wai-sze cruised to the first of what could be a hat-trick of gold medals at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Turkmenistan on Wednesday night, then called on her young Hong Kong teammates to do more to make themselves competitive at international level.
Lee handed India’s Deborah Herold a comprehensive defeat over two rounds of the women’s sprint to pick up her first gold medal of the games at the state-of-the-art velodrome in the capital of Ashgabat.
But, after seeing Vivian Ma Wing-yu miss out on a place on the podium alongside her in the sprint and Law Tsz-chun squeeze into the quarter-finals of the men’s sprint via the repechage, Lee stressed the need for her teammates to show greater application if they want to progress on the international stage.
“I have watched every sprinter in my team,” she said. “They really have to put more effort in training and in every training they have to try their best.
“When they come here they can see the distance between themselves and the other countries. The boys are coming here and they’re struggling to go past the quarter-finals.
“They need to watch more videos to learn more from the race, not just playing around or being lazy,” she said.
Lee, 30, is the most experienced member of a team dominated by young riders still learning the ropes in the international arena and she stressed the need for greater focus from those within the squad.
“For the other riders, they should think more about which race is more important,” she said. “Maybe for the juniors the National Games is more important because they can only do time trials in the 200 metres and here they can’t get into the quarter-finals.
“They should focus on the Asian Indoor Games, but unfortunately they haven’t before the race. This is the lesson they have to learn themselves. They should notice that they haven’t been focused and after these races they need to realise that.”
Lee was hoping to be joined on the podium by Ma, but the 20-year-old fell short of securing a second medal for Hong Kong in the women’s sprint when she lost to Indonesia’s Crismonita Dwi Putri in the bronze medal ride-off.
Despite showing her inexperience in the defeat, Lee commended Ma for her efforts.
“I was hoping my teammate could get into the final as it’s the first time for her at a big games like this, so I think she’s got many things she has to improve,” she said. “I feel very proud of her times, but she just has to work harder.”
Next up on Thursday night for Lee is the team sprint, where she will partner up with 19-year-old Li Yin-yin before going for gold in the keirin on Friday.
“In the keirin, I hope I can still get the gold medal and all the riders can be safe in the race,” said the Olympic bronze medallist at the 2012 London Games.
“I’m hoping I can help the team get a medal in the team sprint, but we have some new riders, so I can’t push them too much.
“But we will try our best. We haven’t focused as a team. In the National Games we tried our best and then, after two weeks, we have come to these games, so it’s not a target for us.”