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Asian Games 2018

I’ll be ready for Jakarta, promises Hong Kong rider Yang Qianyu as she shines in national road championships

Four years ago, the former mainland rider missed the Incheon Games because of passport issues but she’s now ready to make her mark in Jakarta

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 July, 2018, 5:13pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 July, 2018, 6:17pm

Rider Yang Qianyu has turned heartbreak into elation as she celebrated securing a place in the Hong Kong squad for this summer’s Asian Games four years after watching the competition from the stands in Incheon.

Yang was denied a place in the Hong Kong squad for Incheon in 2014 after failing to fulfil the required residency requirements but four years on, she has a new passport to go with the new-found confidence that she will be among the gold medal contenders in the women’s road race in Indonesia.

“I went to Incheon as my coach wanted me to experience the Asian Games atmosphere even though I wasn’t part of the team,” said Yang, who showed she was ready for Jakarta after winning Saturday’s time trial and finishing second behind Pang Yao in the road race at the national championships in Tin Shui Wai on Sunday.

“It was heart breaking not to have gone to Incheon as a competitor as I was training a couple of months before the event, hoping the passport issue would be resolved. It wasn’t resolved and I became very upset that I could only go to Incheon as a spectator. Nonetheless, it was a good experience for me and it has made me stronger.”

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Armed with a new Hong Kong passport now, Yang who was also crowned the 2017 Asian road race champion in Bahrain, looks forward to her first Asian Games as a competitor and she’s confident the road race course will be tailored-made to suit her after inspecting the venue recently.

“The Indonesia event will finish with a three-kilometre climb and this could decide who wins in the end,” said the 25-year-old who completed the 78km race in 2:13:28. “I have been working extremely hard on the climbs. But with a little luck, which is always important in a road race, we are quite confident of gaining a good result.”

Yang is also determined to make things right after Hong Kong’s Diao Xiaojuan had the gold medal in sight in Incheon, only to suffer a broken wheel 100 metres from the finish. Diao only managed fourth place in the end.

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“It’s always difficult to predict what might happen in a road race because one little thing could change the outcome,” said Yang. “The Asian Games is held every four years and you may not have the same opportunity in the next cycle. With a favourable course, I would definitely give it my best shot, especially after missing the Incheon Games last time out.”

Yang will leave this week for the Japan Track Cup as a build-up towards the Asian Games and will also take part in the China National Championships before returning to Kunming for altitude training before setting off for Indonesia.

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She will face a strong opponent in Indonesia in Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi That – the reigning Asian champion and silver medallist at the Incheon Asian Games.

Hong Kong men’s team, meanwhile, received a good news ahead of the Indonesia Games after the madison has been added to the track programme.

Leung Chun-wing and Cheung King-lok won a gold medal in this team event at the World Cup series in Minsk in January.

“The Indonesia organisers only made a decision last week to include the event for the Asian Games,” said Leung, who finished third in the 120.7km men’s road race on Sunday behind Hong Kong team members Ko Siu-wai and Burr Ho. “This is definitely a good news for us as we have been working on this event for a long time against some of the top riders of the world while other nations are racing against time to get prepared.”

Last year, madison was announced as one of the track events for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after being removed from the programme list after the 2008 Beijing Games.