Breaking the cycle: star Hong Kong athlete Wong Kam-po quits the sport that made him famous
After almost three decades as a celebrated rider and now a coach, five-time Olympian is handed a new role with Hong Kong Sports Federation & Olympic Committee
Hong Kong cycling legend Wong Kam-po has quit the sport he has been involved in for almost three decades as an athlete and coach.
The 44-year-old Wong has resigned from the Hong Kong Sports Institute as its cycling coach and will take up a new position at the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee (SFOC) to promote sport in general.
Wong has yet to comment on his decision, but it is understood he wants to spend more time with his young family and resume his studies.
SF&OC deputy secretary-general Wong Po-kee said they had made an offer to Wong , who won Hong Kong’s first ever world championships gold medal in the men’s scratch race in 2007.
“Wong is an iconic figure of Hong Kong sports and it’s always the intention of the committee to help retired athletes,” he said.
“We don’t think he belongs only to cycling and if he wants to move to another field in sports, we are willing to do something.
“Indeed, he showed some great communication skills during the interview and we reckon he can do a good job in his new choice.”
In his new role, Wong will lead a team of staff, mostly retired athletes, to promote Hong Kong sports in the community, schools and individual organisations.
Cycling association chairman Leung Hung-tak said: “His departure may have a short-term effect on the team as we are preparing for the National Games in September. But he said he wanted to spend more time in Hong Kong so that he can finish his degree at the Education University and also enjoy more family life with his two-year-old son.
“We would always welcome him back, especially after he finishes his studies as this will also benefit the sport. After all, we think his best future is still as a coach.”
The Hong Kong team spend most of their time in the mainland at training bases in Yunnan and Guangzhou.
Wong burst to prominence when he was 17, winning Hong Kong’s first ever Asian Junior Championships title in the boys’ road race in Beijing.
He was then selected to represent Hong Kong at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona but the team of five were disbanded following an internal fight among the riders during a pre-Olympic training camp in Europe.
Wong was banned for two years for his role in the incident and it was not until he met his coach, Shen Jinkang, in 1994 that Wong decided to come back.
He immediately came fourth in the road race at the Hiroshima Asian Games in the same year, then went on to win an unprecedented three gold medals at the 1998, 2006 and 2010 Asiads.
He set a record of representing Hong Kong at five Olympic Games from 1996 in Atlanta to the 2012 London Olympics before his retirement in the Tour of Taihu in China in 2012.