Asian Games: Sarah Lee feeling confident and powerful ahead of keirin after helping Hong Kong secure silver in team sprint
The 2012 Olympic bronze medallist is showing great form ahead of her pet event in Jakarta after being rested in the women’s team sprint final
Hong Kong’s 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Sarah Lee Wai-sze said she was feeling “powerful and confident” ahead of her Asian Games individual events after securing silver in the women’s team sprint at the Jakarta International Velodrome on Monday.
Lee was rested for the final as youngster Li Yin-yin and Vivian Ma Wing-yu (35.024 seconds) finished almost two seconds behind the strong Chinese combination of Lin Junhong and Zhong Tianshi (33.118), who took gold.
South Korea won the bronze beating Japan in the third-place contest. Lee raced in the qualifiers but coach Shen Jinkang decided to rest her for the final to help her prepare for her pet event, the keirin, on Tuesday.
“We already got into the final and tomorrow is the day when I have the keirin so we thought we should maintain my condition and so that’s why I didn’t race in the final.” said Lee.
“I feel very confident and powerful and so I hope I can race with full power tomorrow.”
Hong Kong’s mixed doubles pairing of Tang Chun-man and Tse Ying-suet couldn’t stop world champions, Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong, of China, in the gold medal play-off. The Hong Kong pair, who were jointly seeded third, were hoping to surprise the heralded Chinese duo after defeating world No 2 pair Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping in Sunday’s semi-finals.
But the Hong Kong pair were unable to get their game going and lost 21-8, 21-15 in 29 minutes.
However, there was good news on the medal front with silver medals won in the men’s team and the super mixed team in bridge for Hong Kong.
Lee won a bronze medal in the keirin at the 2012 London Olympics but fell while in the lead two years ago at the Rio Games.
At the time she did not know if she would continue cycling and it was months before she re-committed herself to her career. But on Monday, she appeared fully focused on strengthening her status as one of Asia’s top track cyclists.
When asked how she felt compared to two years ago, she replied: “Actually I feel more confident and more powerful.
“Today, we had a PB [personal best] time and I really feel part of this team and the youngsters coming up. They have done very well and I hope we can perform well over the next few days, maybe better than China.”
For Ma, it was a special moment to stand with Lee on the podium to receive their silver medals. The 21-year-old said she has learned how champions go about their lives as Lee’s teammate.
“It is such an honour to race with her,” said Ma. “Being with her I have learned to believe in myself and do what you are supposed to do.
“It’s amazing how she is so stable and calm and what she does away from the track.
“It is the mental strength, how you prepare, what you eat and how to be a good athlete in your daily life.”
Hong Kong will also be going for gold in the men’s team pursuit. They finished second in qualifying and meet Kazakhstan in their elimination heat.
Hong Kong women’s table tennis players are also guaranteed a bronze medal after defeating India 3-1 in the team quarter-finals.