Thumbs up for Rio Olympic Games velodrome
Hong Kong coach Shen Jinkang is full of praise for the new track after a test event, and that is good news for gold-medal prospect Sarah Lee
Hong Kong cycling head coach Shen Jinkang praised the velodrome for the upcoming Rio Olympic Games despite months of construction work delay.
Shen was with his rider Leung Chun-wing for a “test race” at the venue over the weekend when it was opened for the first time with only six weeks left for the track cycling competition at the Rio Games.
“There are some furnishing work to be completed but the basic construction is finished,” said the coach.
“The track is fine with the wooden surface laid very well. We are quite happy with the venue condition and the 250-metre track is one of the best in the world which will offer good competition during the Games period.”
Youngster Leung will be making his Olympic debut in Rio and the 22 year-old already sounded an early warning with a third placed finish in the test race.
A total of 20 all round riders from Japan, Australia, Russia, Switzerland, Hong Kong and the host took part in the men’s omnium event - a six discipline competition like decathlon in athletics.
Only two events were held at the newly open venue as a “test race”.
The other one was women’s omnium, but Hong Kong’s Olympian Diao Xiaojuan preferred to compete in the International Track Series in Melbourne last week as part of her final build-up for Rio.
But with track cycling a major medal target for Hong Kong’s women’s sprinter Sarah Lee Wai-sze, the coach had to visit the venue in person to examine the conditions despite a long haul travel from Melbourne after Leung finished the first two days in the international series.
Hong Kong has qualified in four Olympic track cycling events - Lee’s sprint and keirin and the two omnium events. Lee won a bronze medal in the keirin in the London Olympics four years ago and is considered also a serious medal contender in Rio.
The first “Test Event” for all the 10 Olympic track cycling disciplines was scheduled for mid March but was postponed to late April due to a delay of the velodrome construction. But the event was also called off later, with only a “test race” for the two omnium events held over the weekend.