A full set – gold, silver and bronze for Hong Kong in the velodrome at National Games
City enjoys a successful day in Tianjin with Yang Qianyu and Pang Yao striking gold in the women’s madison, while star cyclist Sarah Lee settles for bronze in sprint
Hong Kong won its first gold at the National Games in Tianjin as Yang Qianyu and Pang Yao pulled off victory in the women’s madison on the cycling velodrome.
It was a successful day for Hong Kong’s cycling team who also captured one silver and one bronze medal in the men’s madison and women’ sprint respectively.
Yang and Pang, who were third in qualifying going into the final, hit top gear in the medal race, scoring points in each of the eight sprinting laps of the 20-kilometre race to earn a total 35 points – well ahead of the silver medal pair from Shanghai, who had 19, one ahead of third-placed Shanxi.
Hong Kong also came close to snatching another gold when Leung Chun-wing and Ko Siu-wai had to settle for silver after losing to the Shanghai team in men’s madison.
Qin Chenlu and Xue Saifei, the only pair to have gained 20-lap points from the 10 competing teams, won the 30-kilometre race with 49 points, while the Hong Kong combination managed 34. Third place went to Inner Mongolia on 14.
The madison is a “tag-team” style race which is relatively new in women’s cycling. It will be introduced as a new women’s event for the first time the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The madison will be making a reappearance for the men after it was on the Olympic programme from 2000-2008.
Yang, 27, who is the reigning Asian road race champion after winning in Bahrain earlier this year, will fancy her chances of adding another gold medal to her collection in the individual road race in Tianjin next week.
“We have prepared for the madison for long time, targeting a medal, so it’s really great to have won gold,” said Yang. “When we saw the starting list, we were surprised many or our competitors were out-and-out sprinters. Fortunately we were able to come through despite a few hiccups along the way.”
Yang and Pang, who were both born in Liaoning province, have set their sights on representing Hong Kong in Tokyo after fulfilling residency requirements.
“We came all the way to Hong Kong to pursue our sporting dream and we are happy part of it has now been fulfilled. We won’t stop and will hopefully raise our game to an even higher level,” said Yang.
Pang, 25, said she made only one brief visit home during the past 12 months as she had to focus on training.
“I really miss my family but I know what my target is,” she said. “We train so hard and there is only one reason for that – to prove we are capable of doing well in cycling.”
Both riders, however, said they planned to go home after the National Games for a short break and hang their gold medal prominently in their house.
London Olympics bronze medallist Sarah Lee Wai-sze was a disappointment but scored some consolation when she captured bronze in her pet event – the sprint – after defeating Zhong Tianshi of Shanghai in the play-off. Lee lost to eventual champion Lin Junhong of Heilongjiang in the semi-finals but recovered well to beat Zhong 2-1 in the best-of-three bronze medal match. She will have another chance to challenge for gold in the keirin as the Games’ defending champion on Saturday.
Yang and Pang will share a cash reward of HK$420,000 under the Jockey Club Athlete Incentive Awards Scheme while the men’s team will receive HK$240,000. Lee also gets HK$120,000 for her bronze.
Hong Kong has so far won one gold, three silver and five bronze medals in Tianjin, just two bronze short of their medal haul at the Shenyang Games four years ago.