UCI Track World Cup: Sarah Lee and Vivian Ma suffer Olympics qualification setback in Paris
- Hong Kong duo finish 14th out of 15 in team sprint qualifying heats at first round of Track World Cup, which acts as qualification for 2020 Tokyo Games
- Lee admits ‘it’s not a good beginning’ after Paris disappointment, but she has chance to make up for it in individual sprint and keirin
It was a disappointing start for Sarah Lee Wai-sze’s 2020 Olympic Games qualification campaign as she and partner Vivian Ma Wing-yu finished second bottom in the Paris team sprint heats at the opening round of the UCI Track World Cup.
Lee stormed to the second best overall individual time in qualifying but Ma fell far short in the two-lap race on the famous Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines track.
The duo, who won team sprint silver at this summer’s Asian Games in Indonesia, have high hopes of competing in the event at the Tokyo Games in two years’ time.
There was little Lee could do but she refused to blame her younger partner Ma after they finished 14th out of 15.
“Our first World Cup and it’s not a good beginning,” Lee wrote in a Facebook post after the race. “But I always feel proud to get on the track with this girl.”
Ma managed only 20.75 seconds in the opening lap which was more than a second behind her time in Jakarta when the 21-year-old clocked 19.595 seconds.
The 31-year-old Lee, however, maintained her power on the second lap with a time of 14.094 seconds, behind only Stephanie Morton of Australia (13.922), who topped the qualifiers with partner Kaarle McCulloch in 32.845.
Lee and Ma together clocked 34.844, ahead only of Malaysia. The Australian duo went on to claim silver, pipped by just 0.001 seconds by Russian duo Daria Shmeleva and Anastasiia Voinova in the final.
Lee, however, still has the individual sprint and keirin to make up for the team sprint disappointment in the French capital.
The star rider won both events at the Indonesia Asian Games but she will be put under stronger scrutiny with challenges from the world’s best sprinters in Paris.
There are six rounds of the track World Cup series this season, with the last round taking place in Hong Kong in January. Riders’ best three round results go towards their Olympic qualification bids.