Sarah Lee back on the right track with a semi-final berth at the Cycling World Championships
The 2012 Olympic bronze medallist comes back with a bang in the women’s sprint with the chance to win a medal at the World Championships in Apeldoorn
Track cyclist Sarah Lee Wai-sze received a shot in the arm after her decision to continue her career with a semi-final berth in the sprint at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Apeldoorn, Netherlands.
On the second day of the biggest track event in the world, Lee made no mistake with three consecutive wins before setting up a clash with Stephanie Morton of Australia for a place in the final early on Saturday morning (Hong Kong time).
The other semi-final features two German riders, with defending champion Kristina Vogel, who won the gold in Hong Kong last year, taking on fellow countrywoman Pauline Grabosch.
Lee went through a half-year break after last year’s World Championships before announcing her return to the track with the Asian Games in Indonesia this summer and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics her major targets. And the 30-year-old immediately made a strong comeback with three gold medals at the Asian Championships in Malaysia last month, winning the 500-metre time trial, sprint and keirin, the same disciplines she is competing in at the Worlds.
After finishing fifth of 33 riders in the 200-metre sprint qualifier, Lee was forced to start from the first round as the top four qualifiers, Morton, Vogel, Grabosh and Daria Shmeleva of Russia, progressed straight to the second stage.
But Lee was able to make two comfortable wins before reaching the quarter-finals where she faced the challenge from Shmeleva, the time trial and team sprint champion at the 2017 Worlds.
But again the Hong Kong rider proved too strong for the 23-year-old Russian with two wins in the best-of-three tie.
Lee won a bronze medal in the same event in front of the home crowds last year when she defeated Simona Krupeckaitėof Lithuania in the third place play-off after being beaten by Vogel in the semis.
In the men’s event, Cheung King-lok will start in the points race while Leung Chun-wing is to feature in the omnium. The two will combine together in the men’s madison, a two-member event which will be back in the Olympic programme for the 2020 Tokyo Games. Cheung and Leung won the Asian title of the same event in Malaysia.