Hong Kong’s highly rated cycling coach will now lead Chinese Cycling Association as well – but there’s no conflict of interest, insist authorities
Shen Jinkang has developed riders such as Sarah Lee Wai-sze into world talents – and his second job will benefit city’s riders, insists local chief
Officials have given assurances Hong Kong cycling will remain independent and a separate entity from China despite the appointment of its head coach, Shen Jinkang, as chairman of the Chinese Cycling Association.
Shen, who came to Hong Kong in 1994 to take up the head coaching job, a position which he is still holding, is now also the head of Chinese cycling, the Hong Kong Cycling Association said on Thursday.
“Shen will remain in charge of our coaching team, which will be his top priority, and his new appointment in China will mainly involve putting forward a new structure for the delivery of Chinese cycling,” said association chairman Leung Hung-tak.
“Shen will obviously become a key person in the sport in both Hong Kong and China, but it doesn’t mean Hong Kong will become a subsidiary of our Chinese counterpart.
“There is already a clear definition of Hong Kong sport on the international stage according to the Basic Law and we don’t have to worry about this.
“We are two different teams competing against each other in major events such as the Olympic Games and the Asian Games.”
Leung said Shen would not be involved in the training of mainland Chinese cyclists as they would still be trained by their own coaches to avoid any potential conflict of interest, especially when mainland riders are racing against the Hong Kong team on the international stage.
But under the new agreement, Hong Kong will benefit from many of the scientific research conducted by he Chinese authorities and can also send teams to China for training camps to ride alongside many top-quality training partners.
“China has done a lot of research on improving their standards, such as drafting. A joint venture with them will definitely help us, especially in preparation for major games such as the Tokyo Olympics,” said Leung.
“Also, we can improve the training quality for our top riders such as Sarah Lee Wai-sze as we can identify good training partners from across China.”
China won their first Olympic gold medal in cycling in Rio last year when Zhong Tianshi and Gong Jinjie triumphed in the women’s team spirit on the track. Their women’s pursuit team are also one of the strongest in the world.
Shen’s two-year contract with the Sports Institute will finish in March 2019 and Leung said they would seek an extension for the build-up to the 2020 Olympics.
Shen’s new appointment with the Chinese Cycling Association will last until the second half of 2018.