Asian Games 2018: gold for Hong Kong cyclist Sarah Lee in women’s keirin
The defending champion outsprints Korea’s Lee Hye-jin and China’s Zhong Tianshi to win her second Asian Games gold in the event; men’s pursuit team take silver
Hong Kong track cyclist Sarah Lee Wai-sze proved she was back to her best when she claimed the gold medal in the women’s keirin at the Asian Games on Tuesday.
The 2012 London Olympic bronze medallist outsprinted Korea’s Lee Hye-jin and China’s Zhong Tianshi for a brilliant gold. But only just. Zhong took the initiative with a lap to go but Lee’s power enabled her to burst through and she just pipped the Korean.
Hong Kong’s Jessica Lee was fourth.
Lee’s gold, the fourth for Hong Kong so far at these Games, came soon after Hong Kong’s men’s pursuit team of Leung Ka-yu, Leung Chun-wing, Ko Siu-wai and Mow Ching-yin were beaten by China’s Xue Chaohua, Guo Liang, Qin Chenlu and Sheng Pingan in the gold-medal clash.
“I am very happy but a bit disappointed that my teammate [Jessica Lee] could not win a medal,” said the 31-year-old Sarah Lee. “[Jessica] cried afterwards but I told her that I am sure she can be a world-class cyclist within the next two years.
“Compared to four years ago, I feel I am a better cyclist and this is a good sign for me leading up to the Tokyo Olympics. I was confident of winning and I wasn’t really thinking about what the others were doing in the race.
“I have the sprint to go now and I just want to try my best. It’s a good day for Hong Kong because we also won silver in the men’s pursuit and I hope we can win more medals for Hong Kong.”
Hong Kong’s cycling coach Shen Jinkang was proud of Lee’s performance and felt there was more to come from the Hong Kong star.
“She can get better than this,” said Shen, Hong Kong’s cycling coach for more than 20 years. “She prepared very well for this Asian Games and I hope she can continue the form in the sprint event.”
Sarah Lee is also the defending champion in the women’s sprint, which starts on Thursday.
“This is my third Asian Games and I am proud and happy that I am still able to compete at a high level,” said Lee, who suffered heartbreak at the 2016 Rio Olympics when she fell while in the lead in the keirin.
That time she cried inconsolably. On Tuesday, there were few tears as she focuses on continuing her domination of the individual sprint events.
But she did shed a few drops as she stood for the anthem during the medal ceremony, hand on her heart and deep in reflection.
The men’s sprint team had high hopes after recording a faster time than China in finishing second during Monday’s qualifiers.
But from the first two laps it was clear that China were saving themselves for later rounds. They were more than two seconds ahead of Hong Kong with just a few laps remaining and would have overtaken them had there been an extra lap.
The Hong Kong women’s pursuit team were well beaten by Japan in their bronze-medal clash, being overtaken two-thirds into the race.