Hong Kong cycling star Sarah Lee makes it a hat trick of gold medals at Asian Indoor Games as she completes clean sweep
Domination was never in doubt in absence of key rivals, says track queen
Sarah Lee Wai-sze completed her clean sweep of gold medals at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games on Friday evening, claiming she never doubted her ability to secure a golden hat-trick in Turkmenistan.
Lee added gold in the keirin to those picked up in the individual and team sprint events as the 30-year-old cruised to victory ahead of India’s Deborah Herold and teammate Vivian Ma Wing-yu on another successful night for Hong Kong.
“When I read the start list I was already thinking I could get the gold medals, but of course the races always have different situations,” said Lee.
“I had the confidence, but I was not 100 per cent sure that I could win. This time we didn’t have China, we didn’t have Korea and it’s a surprise for me that they weren’t here.
“But for the juniors, we need to work with them to bring their level up. I could say it was easy for me, but for Vivian and the other Hong Kong sprinters this event has been good for them.”
Lee was in total command once again in the keirin, comfortably holding off the challenge of Herold over the final two laps while Ma fell short with a late charge on the Indian rider to left with the bronze.
And while the relatively weak field allowed Lee to dominate the event, the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist stressed there were a lot of lessons to be learned in Ashgabat for the inexperienced Hong Kong team.
“I think for some of the team they don’t think it’s very important but actually they will learn a lot from being here, these events are important,” she said.
“Vivian still needs to improve her positioning. In a world class race you have no chance if you do this. In the Asian races you can do this but she still needs to watch more videos and be brave and go to the front.”
The bronze medal was Ma’s first of the event and went some way towards alleviating her disappointment at missing out on a place on the podium in the individual sprint on Wednesday evening, when she finished fourth.
“I’m young for a sprinter, I’ve only being doing this for 10 months so it’s quite encouraging,” said Ma. “But I also made some mistakes in the race and that’s why we maybe could have got gold and silver.
“I didn’t dare to attack early, I just followed and waited for Sarah to attack first before I went. I didn’t manage to make it to the front, so I’m not too satisfied with this race but it’s good to get a bronze medal.
“In qualifying in the sprint I was second fastest, but I still didn’t get a medal and that’s quite disappointing for me. In those races, I didn’t do so well.
“I’m not so good at controlling my bike as I’ve not been on the bike for too long, just 10 months. The other riders have more experience so when it comes to the stage when I have more experience I can control the race. That’s what I have to improve.”
Despite the disappointment of missing out on an additional medal, Ma found plenty of positives from the event in Turkmenistan.
“The experience is the most important for me as I’m still young to this event,” she said. “The goal is not these Asian Indoor Games, the goal is next year’s Asian Games and then the Olympics. This is just a step for us to try out our team.
“The racing is important for us because in training it’s hard for us to have mock races or real race experience and that’s what I lack most. This is very good experience.”
There was further success on the track as Hong Kong’s men took the silver medal in the team pursuit behind a powerful Kazakhstan foursome to increase the team’s tally at the velodrome over the last three nights to three golds, one silver and a bronze.