Gift of gold – Hong Kong cyclist Leung Chun-wing celebrates birthday with World Cup victory
The 24-year-old partners Cheung King-lok to the title in Minsk, Belarus while Sarah Lee is beaten in the women’s sprint quarter-finals
Hong Kong track cyclist Leung Chun-wing celebrated his 24th birthday in style, giving himself the perfect gift of a World Cup victory in the men’s madison in Minsk on Saturday (Sunday morning Hong Kong time).
Joined by partner Cheung King-lok, who won a silver in the points race the previous day in the Belarus capital, the duo came first in the gruelling 120-lap, 30km race with 30 points. Second place went to Roy Pieters and Wim Stroetinga, of the Netherlands (27 points), while Rui Oliveira and Ivo Oliveira, of Portugal (25 points), came third.
“There were some nervous moments before the race as we haven’t performed well in this season’s World Cup series and the feeling is just so good to make it in the fifth and final leg, especially because it was completed on my birthday,” said Leung. “What a gift!”
Leung, a former world junior champion in the points race who also represented Hong Kong in the omnium at the Rio Olympic Games, praised partner Cheung for his contribution.
“We knew we had the ability but just needed some on-field experience to make it. Thanks to my partner and his brother King-wai who is our coach, one worked with me on the track and one used his words and experience to encourage me on the trackside so I can perform my best.
“My World Cup debut was also in Minsk in 2013 and it’s such a great return. After all, I needed such a result to prove myself as I continue my career with many important events to come.”
Hong Kong previously won a World Cup madison gold in Beijing in 2010 when Kwok Ho-ting and Choi Ki-ho triumphed. With the discipline being reinstated into the Tokyo Olympics, the victory means a lot to the Hong Kong riders as they prepare for 2020 Games.
In the women’s sprint, Sarah Lee Wai-sze, who is making her first World Cup appearance of the season, lost in the quarter-finals when she was defeated 2-0 by Nicky Degrendele, of Belgium, in the best-of-three tie.
All three Hong Kong riders will appear in the final day of the three-day series when Lee starts in the keirin, while Leung and Cheung will take part in the omnium and scratch races.
Hong Kong failed to win a medal in the four previous World Cup legs this season, but have bagged two already in Minsk.