Turning up the heat: managers of chilly velodrome agree to raise temperature for Hong Kong cyclists

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department decides to raise the temperature in the Tseung Kwan O facility because it was deemed ‘too cold’ by our top riders training for the Rio Games

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 June, 2016, 7:32pm
UPDATED : Friday, 03 June, 2016, 10:05am

Cyclist Sarah Lee Wai-sze can expect a “warm” reception after managers of the Tseung Kwan O velodrome have decided to turn up the heat inside the facility because it had previously been “too cold” for training.

This is a velodrome and the main purpose of the facility is for track cycling
Leung Hung-tak

Hong Kong cyclists going to the Rio Games need to train in optimum temperatures to produce their best output but initial pleas to raise the temperature to 28 degrees Celsius at the HK$600 million had fallen on deaf ears. However, the government’s Leisure and Cultural Services Department, who manages Hong Kong’s only velodrome, has decided to meet the cyclists’ request to the relief of the Hong Kong Cycling Association.

“This is a velodrome and the main purpose of the facility is for track cycling,” said Leung Hung-tak, chairman of the association. “With the Olympic Games just around the corner, it will be important to provide the best training environment for the team and I think the public would also understand this,” he said. “I will contact the Hong Kong team coach to check if they would use the Tseung Kwan O venue now.”

The Hong Kong team have been training in Guangzhou since mid-March after returning from the world track championships in London, but the team could return to Tseung Kwan O now that the temperature problem appears to have been solved.

Leung said the government department had agreed to close the entire venue during cycling training with the Sports Institute paying for all the booking expenses of the infield courts for basketball and badminton.

“With no other users, they can then turn off the air conditioning so that the venue temperature can be raised and the lighting inside the venue can also be switched to suit their needs because it was bothering the cyclists before,” said the chief. “They are also working with the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department to see how they can raise the temperature to 28 degree even though it doesn’t have a heating system. It shows they are willing to help.”

The venue temperature reached 25 degrees Celsius as requested by the International Cycling Union during the World Cup Hong Kong leg in January after they switched off the air conditioning.

Meanwhile, Leung was not disappointed that the Hong Kong women’s road race team failed to qualify for the Rio Games. Yang Qianyu came fifth in the Horizon Park Women’s Challenge last week, the last event before qualification closed but it was still not good enough to push the Hong Kong rider into the top 100 world rankings, a requirement for making it to Rio.

The Hong Kong rider finished 108th upon completion of the qualification. Only two Asian riders have made it – Huang Ting-Ying of Taiwan, a surprise winner at the Tour of Chongming Island in early May and Mayuko Hagiwara of Japan, a member of professional team Wiggle High 5.