Tokyo 2020-bound track cyclist Jessica Lee Hoi-yan left her native Glasgow for Hong Kong three years ago to dedicate herself to her Olympic dream. Sacrifices have been in abundance, but the 30-year-old never would have imagined spending the winter locked down in the Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI). “There are a lot of unknowns. We don’t know how early we need to be arriving in Tokyo, whether there will be a quarantine period. We’re very limited in knowing these things yet,” said Lee, born in Hong Kong before moving to Scotland aged 11. Lee has been – like several of the city’s Olympic hopefuls – forced to train, sleep and repeat in Fo Tan’s kitted-out Institute as a precaution against the Covid-19 pandemic. While she has seen physical improvements from the strict weightlifting and workout regimens, Lee explained that the lack of competition and repetitive training takes a mental toll. The postponed Olympics’ cycling events begin on July 24. “It can really hit you mentally, especially being locked down in HKSI. Sometimes you wake up on the wrong side of the bed and it can be demotivating because it’s a long way to the Olympics. We plan to spend our Christmas and New Year here, God forbid but perhaps Lunar New Year as well. So it’s tough but we’re all in it together and our athletes are supporting each other,” Lee said. “It’s not ideal to have all racing and training interrupted but luckily in Hong Kong the interruption has been very mild. Unfortunately no racing, and racing is a big part of what we do – it really is. “It gives us focus and something to peak for and when you take that out of the equation it can become very flat. Psychologically you can get kind of bogged down because you have nothing to peak for, physically and mentally. It’s been very good training and a good run-way, very head-down in training – but there’s nothing to train for. You take your head out the sand and it’s like ‘OK, what next?’ The key now is for Lee and Co to lay the blueprints for a summer peak next year. That means everything in moderation, whether that be Christmas stuffing, dead-lifting or roller training. “It’s all in the plan to peak for the Olympics. There are some things the coaches need to talk about because we don’t want to overcook ourselves when just training, training, training. Sometimes it’s easier to condition yourself when you’re racing because you train for racing and rest after. You just need to be careful of overtraining, overreaching and your recovery period can mess up our peaking,” she said, adding that her goal is to reach the top 16 for the sprint category and “at least a minor final” for the keirin. “This is going to be my first Olympics so I’m not going to get too ahead of myself. I’m just going to enjoy it. It’s so hard because we don’t know what the competition’s going to be like – because there’s no competition. The quarantine has different effects on different athletes. There are some pay-offs and it’s a bit of a lottery so you can’t compare to other people. You just have to take the positives from it.” Lee remarkably only started track cycling aged 24 and has trained with the Scottish national team in the past. The sprinter was recruited by Hong Kong’s head coach Shen Jinkang after an eye-catching display at the China National Games in 2017 when she represented the overseas Chinese team. Three years into being “semi-permanently based in Hong Kong” and she is approaching the pinnacle of elite international sport. Teammate and national treasure Sarah Lee Wai-sze, who won a historic bronze at the 2012 London Olympics, had qualified for both the women’s sprint and keirin earlier in the year, allowing additional Tokyo 2020 spots for Lee and others. Fingers crossed, Lee will be able to conclude her Olympics campaign in style before returning to the UK, where she and her fiancée plan to settle. Like most things this year, tying the knot and relocating to her partner’s native Northern Ireland had to be put on hold. “Not going to lie, it’s special to represent Hong Kong, put on a skin suit and go out there internationally. I have to keep reminding myself it’s a lot of pressure. But there’s balance and I need to enjoy it. I don’t want to come out of this and remember it as cursing through the way. I want this to be as good a memory as possible. I can only take care of the process. Training has been good and I’ve been given a full extra year to be prepared for it. Hopefully the outcome is going to be as good as planned,” Lee said.