Authorities decide against risking repeat of fisticuffs

THE Hong Kong Cycling Association have dropped plans to send the national team away for long-term training ahead of the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games but will instead make use of tour races to bring the riders to their peaks.

Hong Kong cycling was brought to shame by the notorious 1990 pre-Olympic training debacle in France with the coach deserting the team following a pay dispute and then the riders ending up in the police station after a brawl.

The cycling team were then forced to withdraw from the Barcelona Games and the Hong Kong Cycling Association have yet to recover their prestige.

Senior sports executive Walter Yue Ka-lok said: ''There is always a possibility of conflicts and arguments when a group of people stay together for a long period and we don't want the 1990 incident to recur.

''Besides, it would be very costly to send the riders for long-term overseas training when we have about 10 people in the training squad.

''But we will be entering several tour series to give the athletes some tough competition ahead of the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.'' Thailand will be the first stop for four members of the Hong Kong squad - Hui Chak-bor, Chan Lung, Man Wai-chung and Kwok Yiu-chung - as they have been entered for the Tour of Thailand from April 6-11.

Hui and Man were members of the squad in last year's Thailand tour when Hong Kong placed fourth.

There will be two tours for the Hong Kong cyclists next month - the China National Stage Race from April 29 to May 8 and the five-stage International Cycling Road Race in Japan from May 12-23.

''We will be sending separate groups of athletes for the China and Japan series, so almost everybody in the training squad will have a chance of getting some stiff competition before our summer training gets into full swing,'' said Yue.