CYCLING

Asian Games 2014 - Incheon

Winning mental game: Sarah Lee Wai-sze sprints to Asian Games glory

Golden girl puts Chinese in shade to became first Hong Kong athlete to win two gold medals at an Asiad

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 September, 2014, 6:29pm
UPDATED : Friday, 26 September, 2014, 10:50am

In a historic night for Hong Kong, Sarah Lee Wai-sze became the first local to win two gold medals at the 2014 Asian Games followed by compatriot Shek Wai-hung's surprise maiden victory.

Sprint is a very much a mental game and I am happy to see my tactics have been maturing
Sarah Lee

Shek's win in the men's vault final - which gave Hong Kong their first Asiad gold in gymnastics - came one hour after Lee's dramatic final as she overcame her mainland rivals in the women's sprint track cycling event.

Their success on Thursday sees Hong Kong seventh overall in the medal standings, with four golds, five silvers and 14 bronzes.

Both mainlanders, Zhong Tianshi and Lin Junhong, could not stop the Hong Kong rider, who won her semi-finals and final to clinch the hard-earned gold medal at the Incheon International Velodrome.

An emotional Lee said after she had toughened up her training schedule after finishing third in the same event at the Guangzhou Games four years ago.

"I really wanted to win this medal because I spent a lot of hard work and effort on it," said Lee. "I must thank a lot of people for helping me achieve the target.

"My coach, support staff, my family, my friends and my male teammates who have been training with me in South Korea.

"Sprint is a very much a mental game and I am happy to see my tactics have been maturing over the past couple of months.

"I hope to be able to challenge in this event again in the next Olympic Games, although there are still many top sprinters from Europe and other parts of the world."

Lee easily passed Lin in the semi-final stage with two straight wins in the best-of-three race series.

But Zhong, the former world record holder in the 200 metres, proved to be a hard nut to crack. The mainlander pipped Lee in the first race of the final, then crossed the line first in the second race, but was later disqualified for entering Lee's lane.

Then the pair had to race in the decider. This time Lee proved too strong.

It was the second gold for Lee after her victory in the keirin last Sunday.

In the women’s omnium, Diao Xiaojuan came fifth out of the six in her race. 

In addition to Lee's double gold, gymnast Shek saved his sport single-handedly when he pulled off a surprise win at Namdong Gymnasium.

The 22-year-old Shek - who was left red-faced after he landed on his backside to exit early from the London Olympics two years ago - defeated Yang Hak-seon of South Korea in the men's vault.

Yang, the reigning world champion, had to settle for silver, despite home crowd support.

Shek scored a total of 15.216 points from his two jumps, while Yang had 15.2 after he was penalised 0.1 of a point in his first jump.